If Mark Lloyd has his way, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Marr and Ron Smith may have to broadcast from an offshore Island. Mark Lloyd is the newly appointed Chief Diversity Officer for the Federal Communications Commission. His writings make it clear that he wants to tax and regulate “right wing” radio out of existence.
Liberals understand that talk radio is the major source of conservative grassroots networking and information sharing. It encourages and empowers individuals to have a voice and to use it. When the Congressional switchboards light up it is often because talk radio has admonished their listeners to “call your member of Congress and tell them how you feel”.
With virtually all of the major network and print media parroting the same liberal message, talk radio remains the only powerful obstacle to the passage of the leftist agenda. Case in point, the effort to jam a dismantling of the U.S. health delivery system through, unread and undiscussed. The strategy has foundered because Rush, Hannity , and a litany of local hosts have revealed on a daily basis new outrageous provisions found buried in the House health care bill. They were equally vocal about Cap and Trade and the budget busting deficits. Vermont’s Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders has complained that talk radio is drowning out their message.
The left knows that a frontal assault on talk radio, re-implementing the Fairness Doctrine would set off a firestorm in the United States. So while there are some members of Congress who are calling for it to be revived, the President said during his campaign that he is not in favor of bringing back the Fairness Doctrine.
But there is more than one way to skin a cat. The Administration has created a diversity officer position that has never before existed at the FCC and appointed Mark Lloyd, whose stated goals would tax and regulate conservative and Christian radio into bankruptcy and give the proceeds to public radio.
As a senior fellow of the Soros funded Center for American Progress, Lloyd co-authored a report titled “The structural imbalance of political talk radio”. The conclusion is that there is too much conservative programming and not enough liberal talk. It matters not to the authors that radio station owners air Rush and Hannity and Mark Levin because that’s what the public supports and want to listen to, or that Air America could not attract enough listeners to succeed in the marketplace.
The report suggests remedies to fix the “imbalance” that would put local and national caps on commercial radio station ownership and ensure greater “accountability” over radio licensing.
Most astonishingly, Mark Lloyd is calling for each private radio station every year to pay a fee (tax) for their broadcast license, equal to their gross operating budget, with the monies going to the liberal public stations, with whom they compete for listeners. This is a clear formula for driving private radio out of business. And just in case any survived, Lloyd would regulate much of the programming on these stations to make sure they focused on “diverse views” and government activities.
He calls for national and local public stations to be funded at levels above that of commercial broadcasters. He further argues that funding for public radio should not come from congressional appropriations and that sponsorship should be prohibited for all public broadcasters.
It is hard to imagine that even this administration could adopt such whacky ideas but it not hard to imagine a left leaning FCC writing rules that set standards for more “local” programming and meeting diversity needs. The Senate has already passed a bill introduced by Senator Dick Durban that requires local radio stations to set up community advisory boards, including “under-served groups”. These groups would be involved in the license renewal process. Being confronted by Acorn or the Reverend Al Sharpton at a hearing contesting their license renewal would have a chilling effect on decisions made by station owners regarding conservative programming.
Michael Copps, an FCC commissioner has expressed concern that deregulation of media ownership has undermined democracy and has called for re-examining licensing regulations to make them “more reflective” of public interests.
People equal policy. In appointing a radical “Diversity Czar”, the Obama administration has placed a leftist into a position to promote policy that will squelch conservative speech.