The Best Censorship Weapon of All
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a new "Chief Diversity Officer," communications attorney Mark Lloyd.
But Doctor of Jurisprudence Lloyd is far more than merely a communications attorney. He was at one time a Senior Fellow at the uber-liberal Center for American Progress (CAP), for whom he co-wrote a June 2007 report entitled "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio."
Which rails against the fact that the American people overwhelmingly prefer to listen to conservative (and Christian) talk radio rather than the liberal alternative, and suggests ways the federal government can remedy this free-market created "problem."
- Restore local and national caps on the ownership of commercial radio stations.
- Ensure greater local accountability over radio licensing.
- Require commercial owners who fail to abide by enforceable public interest obligations to pay a fee to support public broadcasting.
These last two get perilously close to the use of "localism" to silence conservative (and Christian) radio stations, about which we have been warning for quite some time.
"Localism" is a nebulous FCC regulatory requirement that radio stations must meet to get and keep their broadcast licenses. How it is defined and enforced is wide open to the interpretation of whomever is doing the enforcing. It can mean something benign like airing local public service announcements, or it can be used as a weapon by activists to punish, harangue and ultimately shut down stations they don't like.
In a follow-up essay to the CAP report entitled "Forget the Fairness Doctrine," Lloyd specifically instructs liberal activists to do the latter - use the "localism" requirement to harass conservative stations by filing complaints with the FCC. The FCC would then assess these stations fines, with the money going to (very liberal) public broadcasting.
Or worse - the FCC would rescind these stations' broadcast licenses. In other words, shut them up by shutting them down. Thus, as Lloyd says, no need for the mis-named "Fairness" Doctrine.
From Lloyd's piece:
To be fair, even some progressives are confused about the Fairness Doctrine. A recent news story reported that the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC for short, has asked Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to reintroduce the Fairness Doctrine—even as the same article reports on a speech to LULAC by ABC News correspondent John Quinones, who spoke of his work bringing to audiences a hard-earned perspective to the long-running immigration debate.
Quinones told the LULAC audience that he got his start because a San Antonio community organization threatened that if the stations didn't hire more Latinos, the group would go to the FCC and challenge their licenses. "Thank God for them," Quinones said. "I wouldn't be here."
Equal opportunity employment policies. Local engagement. License challenges. Nothing in there about the Fairness Doctrine.
"Community organizations" (run one would think by community organizers) threatening the licenses of stations with whom they do not agree politically.
Or making them pay hefty fines, which would be added to the public monies already being given to liberal public broadcasting.
The other part of our proposal that gets the dittoheads (i.e. Rush Limbaugh fans, meant here by Lloyd to more broadly refer to fans of all conservative talk) upset is our suggestion that the commercial radio station owners either play by the rules or pay. In other words, if they don’t want to be subject to local criticism of how they are meeting their license obligations, they should pay to support public broadcasters who will operate on behalf of the local community.
Lloyd's instructions to Leftist activists are clear: use the FCC to pummel conservative talk radio. With fines, or entirely out of existence.
And now Lloyd works for the FCC.