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Smear: Mark Lloyd Wants To Reinstate The Fairness Doctrine

September 17, 2009 10:01 am ET

While conservatives in the media have called Lloyd a "neo-Nazi" who wants to shut down conservative media, he has explicitly rejected the premise of the Fairness Doctrine.  He simply wants to "expand media opportunities for women, people of color, small businesses, and those living in rural areas."


Mark Lloyd Wants To Reinstate The Fairness Doctrine

Conservatives have called Mark Lloyd a "neo-Nazi" who wants to silence "conservatives in the media."


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The most absurd attacks have come from pundits like right-wing radio host Michael Savage, who has called Lloyd a "neo-Nazi" and "piece of garbage" intent on closing down "conservatives in the media." He said that Lloyd's title - Chief Diversity Officer - is "code word for the KGB." For the record, Lloyd has a distinguished career on communications policy issues. Most recently he was a vice president at the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. He taught communications policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, served as general counsel to the Benton Foundation, worked as a communications attorney at a major D.C. law firm, and has nearly 20 years of experience in journalism.

The right wing's main problem with Lloyd is a CAP/Free Press report he co-authored in 2007 called "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio." The report's authors explicitly state that they do not think the Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated, and Lloyd has since said that he has "no plans or interest" to resurrect the law. Nevertheless, conservatives are insisting that that goal is really Lloyd's secret plan. [...]

-- MYTH #1: Conservative voices will be kicked off the air. The report actually argues that telling radio broadcasters what to put on the air is inappropriate. What the report advocates for are policies that promote local programming, so what's on the air is responsive to those communities and their advertisers, as opposed to national syndicators and large station group business models. Right now, the regulatory structure pushes out locally-owned, minority-owned, and female-owned stations. "[D]iversifying the marketplace" will not necessarily create more progressive talk radio; it may even get more conservative. It all depends on the on the location and interests of the community.

-- MYTH #2: Lloyd wants to impose more taxes and fines on broadcasters. [...] The report argues that if broadcast stations don't want to do local programming, they can pay a fine and get out of doing it. That money would go to the local public radio station for local programming.

-- MYTH #3: Progressives secretly want a return to the Fairness Doctrine. [...] As Lloyd has explained, the Fairness Doctrine "never by itself fostered coverage of important issues in a way that spoke to the diversity of interests in local communities across our country. In the late 1960's, the supposed golden age of the Fairness Doctrine, the Kerner Commission reported the failure of mainstream media to report on minority communities."

[, 8/22/09]

Lloyd Wants To Encourage Local, Minority-Owned Media.  On September 16, 50 groups signed a letter supporting Lloyd against right-wing smears.  According to the letter, "Lloyd, an established scholar and respected public servant, was hired by the FCC to expand media opportunities for women, people of color, small businesses, and those living in rural areas. It's a tough job, considering the abysmal state of diversity in mainstream media." [, 9/16/09]


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