FCC's Lloyd Rips Critics, 'Right Wing Smear Campaign'
December 14, 2009 at 4:27 PM (PT)
FCC Chief Diversity Officer MARK LLOYD lashed back at critics in his speech MONDAY to the MEDIA ACCESS PROJECT's 2009 Policy Forum Series on Social Media, Net Neutrality, and Future of Journalism. Denying that he supports a Fairness Doctrine or other "backdoor" regulation that would restrict or eliminatre conservative talk radio, he nevertheless cited court actions that have ruled that making licensees carry speech "not controlled by the carrier" is "consistent with the goal of free speech."
...courts have consistently ruled that requiring distribution mechanisms to provide opportunities for speech not controlled by the carrier is not forced speech, but is consistent with the goal of free speech.
LLOYD ripped an unnamed "obscure right wing blog" for "distorting my views about the First Amendment" and added, "Allow me to clear away some mud: I am not a Czar appointed by President OBAMA. I am not at the FCC to restore the Fairness Doctrine through the front door or the back door, or to carry out a secret plot funded by GEORGE SOROS to get rid of RUSH LIMBAUGH, GLENN BECK or any other conservative talk show host. I am not at the FCC to remove anybody, whatever their color, from power. I am not a supporter of HUGO CHAVEZ. The right wing smear campaign has been, in a word -- incredible, generating hate mail and death threats. It is the price we pay for freedom of speech. And I do support free speech."
LLOYD, while at the CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS, authored a report called "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio" and a later essay, "Forget the Fairness Doctrine," in which LLOYD laid out a strategy that involved liberals filing complaints against conservative talk stations and policies of equal opportunity employment practices, local engagement, and license challenges to force "balance" without needing a reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine. He also proposed that stations which do not want to "be subject to local criticism of how they are meeting their license obligations" pay a fee to be distributed to public broadcasting. His history raised alarm among conservatives that he would use his FCC position to act on his prior writing and find ways to restrict conservative talk on radio in the name of "balance."
Noting that the criticism of his positions is part of the "complex and interrelated media environment" of new media, he admitted that what he called the "distortions" of his written record "have been effective. Does anyone doubt that RUSH LIMBAUGH influences members of Congress? Does anyone doubt that members of Congress have an impact on the FCC?" He called for diversity in newsrooms to offer balance against bias and added, "courts have consistently ruled that requiring distribution mechanisms to provide opportunities for speech not controlled by the carrier is not forced speech, but is consistent with the goal of free speech."
Read his prepared speech by clicking here.