The FCC’s Covert Mission to ‘Balance’ Broadcast Media Ownership

The FCC’s Covert Mission to ‘Balance’ Broadcast Media Ownership

By Chuck Rogér

Should Americans be concerned about a Federal Communications Commission official having once suggested that if government doesn’t help minorities reduce white ownership of broadcast media, then only violence would assure the protection of minorities’ civil rights [1]? In the little-noticed 2007 publication “The Erosion of Civil Rights,” Mark Lloyd attempted to make a case for Washington controlling media ownership. At the time, Lloyd — now FCC Chief Diversity Officer — was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Lloyd’s contribution, “Civil Rights and Communications Policy-2006,” is saturated with straw man arguments.

Ideologues use two predominant straw man templates. Type I declares the existence of nonexistent problems in order to draw implications that bolster ideological talking points. Type II offers imagined evidence against imagined problems to strengthen talking points.
Mark Lloyd depended on Type I straw men in “Civil Rights and Communications Policy-2006.” He wrote, “Communications policy determines who gets to speak to whom, how soon and at what cost.” Bad policy “enhances one group’s ability to communicate and limits another group,” violates the limited group’s civil rights, and “perpetuates the stereotypes one group holds about the other.” There is no proof of a “communications policy” that either benefits or hurts certain “groups,” and yet Lloyd stated the contention as fact. Indeed, there’s no proof that Americans communicate according to any “policy” at all. The very idea of government-controlled communications violates the First Amendment. Lloyd’s follow-on points depend on the reader not noticing the hocus-pocus.
But all the magic in the world cannot assign value to specifics based on worthless generalities. Lloyd offered three gems.
If a white teacher believes it will be difficult to teach a brown child, her expectations for that child will be limited. If a white police officer believes black men to be threatening, he will tend to shoot first. If a white citizen believes women of color are lazy, he will be less inclined to support laws that aid the poor.
Essentially admitting the flimsiness of the claims, Lloyd then fell back on an old, reliable “The evidence to support these assertions is compelling.” But no relevant evidence was revealed. Instead, revealed was an obsession with white-bashing. Lloyd’s racial divisiveness presaged the dramatic rise in liberals’ use of the practice since Barack Obama became president.
Insistent on viewing the world through a divisive lens, Lloyd complained that because of an “important and unique role in community discourse,” broadcasters must “act as a public trustee, providing free over the air service for the public good of all segments of their community of license.” Operative phrase: “all segments.” Never has American government forced an industry to donate a product “for the public good.” Yet Lloyd wants to force broadcasters to forgo profits in order to serve the needs of racially and ethnically segregated markets.
Lloyd pushed the same kind of anti-free market, First Amendment-ignoring heavy-handedness in a more well-known 2007 Center for American Progress report, “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio.” In the report, Lloyd called for legalizing racial discrimination by placing “caps” on white ownership of radio stations.
But in Lloyd’s mind, serving segregated markets is only half the battle. To make life truly fair, government must force affirmative action in broadcast industry employment and ownership. Returning to Lloyd’s “Civil Rights and Communications Policy-2006,” we find the czar-to-be using yet another straw man to demand the reenergizing of a 1970s “battle for rules to promote minority ownership.” The justification is that white ownership hurts minorities. Lack of proof for the claim exposes Lloyd’s prescription as ideologically motivated hysterics.
Hysterics inspire various degrees of action. In the case of the communications industry, Lloyd wanted the FCC to investigate using “race-based measures to advance equal employment opportunity regulations and efforts to increase minority ownership[.]” Lloyd now works for a government agency that could force a fix for the “diversity problem.”
To be sure, the FCC is in the process of acting on Mark Lloyd’s recommendations from both 2007 Center for American Progress documents discussed here. A new FCC program will “assess whether all Americans have access to vibrant, diverse sources of news and information[.]” Look for “diverse sources” to translate into “diverse” industry ownership.
Obama’s FCC, intent on diversifying talk radio, could be aiming to marginalize administration opponents. For camouflage, the FCC bent the truth in a reply to a CNS News FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request for records of communications “to and from” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski that contained references to conservative media personalities. The FCC denied the existence of communications fitting the specified parameters, but CNSNews.com reports that in the fall of 2009, the left-wing So We Might See Coalition sent a letter to FCC Chairman Genachowski concerning “hate speech in the media” by personalities like Rush Limbaugh. And the withholding of evidence of media tampering doesn’t end with the CNS episode.
FCC Administrative Law Chief Joel Kaufman, the official whose letter didn’t report the existence of the CNS-requested document, also responded to a Judicial Watch FOIA request for information on Lloyd’s staffing and budget. Kaufman claimed that the FCC “could locate no records” showing anyone hired “specifically to support [Lloyd] in his work” and that Lloyd “has no separate budget for operation and administration.”
The mushiness surrounding Lloyd’s mission makes another portion of the FCC response to the Judicial Watch FOIA request more curious still. Kaufman’s letter containing the “no records” claim states that the FCC
… did locate internal briefing materials for the Chairman concerning “media ownership” that we are withholding in their entirety pursuant to FOIA Exemption 5,5 U.S.C. 552(b)(5). FOIA Exemption 5 permits the withholding of materials in order to encourage open, frank discussions on matters of policy between subordinates and superiors.
The FCC has basically admitted to a plan to conceal from Americans the content of “media ownership” discussions that are occurring. Mark Lloyd may fulfill a dream expressed in 2007. The Diversity Czar can now work to correct “the structural imbalance of political talk radio” without worrying about bothersome interference from the American people.
A writer, physicist, and former high tech executive, Chuck Rogér invites you to visit his website, chuckroger.com. E-mail Chuck at swampcactus@chuckroger.com.

[1] Mark Lloyd’s exact words: “Absent a repeat of the dramatic injustices that reached Americans on their television screens in the 60s it will be difficult, if not impossible, to advance a civil rights agenda on any front in the current communications environment.” From chapter titled, “Civil Rights and Communications Policy-2006” in “The Erosion of Civil Rights,” Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights and Center for American Progress, 2007, p.87.

Obama Declares War on Conservative Talk Radio

Obama Declares War on Conservative Talk Radio

By Jim Boulet, Jr.

Barack Obama sought to silence his critics during his 2008 campaign.  Now, with the ink barely dry on this November’s ballots, Obama has begun a war against conservative talk radio.

Obama is on record as saying he does not plan an exhumation of the now-dead “Fairness Doctrine“. Instead, Obama’s attack on free speech will be far less understood by the general public and accordingly, far more dangerous.

 

The late community organizer Saul Alinsky taught his followers to strike hard from an unexpected direction, an approach known as Alinsky jujitsu.

 

Obama himself not only worked as an organizer for an Alinsky offshoot organization, Chicago’s Developing Communities Project, but would go on to teach classes in Alinsky’s beliefs and methods.

 

“Alinsky jujitsu” as applied to conservative talk radio means using vague rules already on the books to threaten any station which dares to air conservative programs with the loss of its valuable broadcast license.

 

Team Obama and the “localism” weapon

 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule in question is called “localism.”  Radio and television stations are required to serve the interests of their local community as a condition of keeping their broadcast licenses. 

 

Obama needs only three votes from the five-member FCC to define localism in such a way that no radio station would dare air any syndicated conservative programming.

 

Localism is one of the rare issues on which Obama himself has been outspoken. 

 

On September 20, 2007, Obama submitted a pro-localism written statement to an FCC hearing held at the Chicago headquarters of Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.’s Operation Push.

 

Furthermore, the Obama transition team knows all about the potential of localism as a means of silencing conservative dissent.  The head of the Obama transition team is John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress.

 

In 2007, the Center for American Progress issued a report, The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio.  This report complained that there was too much conservative talk on the radio because of “the absence of localism in American radio markets” and urged the FCC to “[e]nsure greater local accountability over radio licensing.

 

Podesta’s choice as head of the Federal Communications Commission’s transition team is Henry Rivera.

 

Since 1994, Rivera has been chairman of the Minority Media Telecommunications Council.  This organization has specific ideas about localism:

 

In other words, it would not do for broadcasters to meet with the business leaders whose companies advertise on their station.  Broadcasters must reach beyond the business sector and look for leaders in the civic, religious, and non-profit sectors that regularly serve the needs of the community, particularly the needs of minority groups that are typically poorly served by the broadcasting industry as a whole.

 

Rivera’s law firm is also the former home of Kevin Martin, the current FCC chairman.  Martin is himself an advocate of more stringent localism requirements. 

 

It was on Martin’s watch that on January 24, 2008, the FCC released its proposed localism regulations.  According to TVNewsday: “At the NAB radio show two weeks ago, Martin said that he wanted to take action on localism this year and invited broadcasters to negotiate requirements with him.”

 

FCC complaints as politics by other means

 

Remember that an FCC license is required for any radio or television station to legally operate in the United States.  A single complaint from anyone can significantly hinder a station’s license renewal process or even cost the station its FCC license entirely.

 

There have been some attempts to utilize the FCC complaint process for partisan political ends, most memorably in 2004, when Sinclair Broadcasting agreed to air a documentary questioning Senator John Kerry’s war record:
Poised to pre-empt programming on its 62 television stations to run a negative documentary about Sen. John Kerry, Sinclair Broadcast Group has come under fire from critics calling it partisan and questioning whether it is failing federal broadcast requirements to reflect local interests.
Members of Congress and independent media groups have questioned the company’s willingness to respect “localism,” a section of federal law that requires media companies to cover local issues and provide an outlet for local voices.

 

One group, The Leftcoaster, went further:

 

But what isn’t done a lot which requires the broadcaster to rack up expensive legal fees, is to challenge every one of their affiliates’ FCC license renewals as they come up this year and next.  … [T]here still is time to organize and file Petitions or objections by November 1, 2004 for Sinclair stations in North Carolina and South Carolina, and for Florida by January 1, 2005.

 

More recently, the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium issued a “fill in the blanks” official FCC complaint form which begins “Anything that you feel is offensive is worth reporting.”

 

Community advisory boards as permanent complaint departments

 

These random efforts could be far more effective at silencing conservatives if they could only be systematized and institutionalized.  That is exactly what the FCC proposed on January 24th.   Every radio and television station would be required to create:

 

[P]ermanent advisory boards comprised of local officials and other community leaders, to periodically advise them of local needs and issues, and seek comment on the matter. … 
To ensure that these discussions include representatives of all community elements, these boards would be made up of leaders of various segments of the community, including underserved groups.

 

The “community advisory board as permanent complaint department” model may well be based upon the 1995 revisions of the Community Reinvestment Act, as described by Howard Husock in City Journal:

 

[T]the new CRA regulations also instructed bank examiners to take into account how well banks responded to complaints. … [F]or advocacy groups that were in the complaint business, the Clinton administration regulations offered a formal invitation.  …
By intervening-even just threatening to intervene-in the CRA review process, left-wing nonprofit groups have been able to gain control over eye-popping pools of bank capital, which they in turn parcel out to individual low-income mortgage seekers. A radical group called ACORN Housing has a $760 million commitment from the Bank of New York…[emphasis in original].

 

Understand that even allowing conservatives to be radio talk show guests may provoke a FCC licensing complaint.  Just ask “right wing hatchet man” Stanley Kurtz.

 

For Obama, when it comes to radio talk, silence is golden, at least when it comes to conservatives.

 

Can localism be stopped?

 

FCC observers agree that the outpouring of complaints from groups like the National Religious Broadcasters during the original comment period helped delay matters. 

 

However, Kevin Martin’s determination to enact a localism regulation has led him to ask the broadcast industry to accept a voluntary standard that the FCC would then enact.  If industry failed to agree now, Martin warned, “a future FCC may be less willing to compromise than the current one.”

 

This scare tactic — agree to our demands today or suffer dire consequences tomorrow — is having an impact. 

 

What broadcasters need to do: speak up now

 

Radio and television station owners need to become engaged in the localism issue and then take the time to educate their own Congressman and Senators about the dangers of the FCC’s proposals. 

 

If broadcasters get involved, it just may be possible to block implementation of any localism rules during the few months remaining of the Bush Administration.

 

This delay is critical, since once it is the Obama Administration leading the fight for rules which would shut down conservative talk radio, Republican Congressmen and Senators will find it easier to fight back.

 

The Senate needs to draw a line in the sand: free speech, not localism

 

While President Obama will have the authority to name Commissioners as their terms end, these nominations must be confirmed by the Senate

 

A few pointed questions on localism to FCC nominees during their confirmation hearings would be useful.  A filibuster of any and all pro-localism FCC nominees would be even better.

 

Any Senator leading such a filibuster would earn the gratitude of millions of fans of talk radio as well as everyone who believes in free speech..

 

Jim Boulet, Jr. is the founder of the anti-localism web site, KeepRushontheAir.com.  Research assistance for this article was provided by Richard Falknor of Blue Ridge Foru

Election ’08 Backgrounder

  

Financial Crisis | Iraq | Defense | Background & Character | Judges & Courts | Energy

 

FINANCIAL CRISIS

Quick Facts:

  • Democrats created the mortgage crisis by forcing banks to give loans to people who couldn’t afford them.
  • In 2006, McCain sponsored a bill to fix the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Barney Frank and other Democrats successfully opposed it.
  • Obama was one of the highest recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac donations in Congress.

Related Editorials

 

IRAQ


Quick Facts:

  • When the U.S. was on the verge of losing in Iraq, McCain chose to stand and fight.  Obama chose retreat.
  • Even after the surge succeeded, Obama told ABC’s Terry Moran he would still oppose it if he had the chance to do it all over again.

Related Editorials

 

DEFENSE

Quick Facts:

  • Obama has promised to significantly cut defense spending, including saying “I will slow our development of future combat systems.”
  • John McCain has vowed: “We must continue to deploy a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent, robust missile defenses and superior conventional forces that are capable of defending the United States and our allies.”

Related Editorials

Obama Video: Watch Now

 

 

BACKGROUND & CHARACTER

Quick Facts:

  • Obama voted “present” 135 times as a state senator, and according to David Ignatius of the Washington Post, “gained a reputation for skipping tough votes.”
  • McCain has taken stances unpopular with his own party and/or the public on controversial issues, including immigration, campaign finance reform, judicial nominations, the Iraq War and more.

Related Editorials

 

 

JUDGES & COURTS


Quick Facts:

  • In a 2001 interview, Obama said he regretted that the Supreme Court “didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.”
  • In the same interview, Obama criticized the Supreme Court because it “never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.”
  • Obama has focused on empathy, rather than legal reasoning and restraint, as his basis for appointing judges, saying, “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy…to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.”
  • McCain opposes judicial activism, saying, “my nominees will understand that there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power.”

Related Editorials

Obama 2001 Interview: Listen Now

 

ENERGY


Quick Facts:

  • McCain has proposed building 45 new nuclear plants by 2030 and is in favor of drilling in sectors of the Outer Continental Shelf.
  • Obama has refused to take a stand, saying only “we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix” and he will “look at” drilling offshore.

Related Editorials

»
McCain: The Energy Candidate

» McCain On Nukes: Yes We Can
» Breaking The Back Of High Oil

 

Posted in ABC, Abortion, Accountable America, ACLU, ACORN, Ahmadinejad, Al Gore, Alinsky, American Civil Liberties Union, American Fifth Column, American Friends of Peace Now, American values, anti-American, Anti-Semitic, anti-war movement, antisemitism, ANWR, ANWR oil, AP, AP/CNN, Associated Press, Atomic Islam, B Hussein Obama, Barack Hussein Obama, Barack Obama, Barbara Boxer, Barney Frank, Barry Soetoro, Bill Ayers, Bill Clinton, Black Nationalism, border security, CBS, CBS evening news, CBS news, Charlie Rangel, CHAVEZ, Chavez-Castro, Christian Voices, christian vote, Cindy McCain, CNN muslim sympathizers, CNN pro islam, Congress, Credit Crunch, Democrat Communist Party, Democrat corruption, Democrat george soros, democrat half truth, democrat lies, democrat muslim, democrat polls, Democrat Presidential debate, democrat scandals, Democrat Shadow Government, democrat socialists, Democratic Corruption, Democratic majority, democratic morals, Democratic socialism, Democratic Socialists of America, Democratic traitors, Democrats and drilling, Democrats and Earmarking, democrats and global Warming, democrats and illegal immigration, Democrats and Subprime mortgages, Democrats and talk radio, Earmarking, earmarks, Fairness Doctrine, Fannie Mae, Fatah, Freddie Mac, free speech, George Bush, George Soros, GOP, GOP leadership, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Hollywood liberals, Howard Dean, Hugo Chavez, human trafficking, Hussein Obama, Iran, Iran revolt, Iran threat, iraq, Iraq jihadists, Iraq Oil, Iraq surge, Iraq War, Islam, islam fundamentalist, Islam sympathizers, Islamic Fifth Column, Islamic immigration, Israel, Israel Defense Forces, Israeli Jets, Jeremiah Wright, Jimmy Carter, Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman, Joe the Plumber, John Conyers, John Kerry, John McCain, John Murtha, Katie Couric, Keith Ellison, left-wing hatred for George W. Bush, left-wing ideologues, Leftist Claptrap, Liberal Churches, liberal jihad, liberal media, McCain, McCain Palin, Mexican migrants, Michelle Obama, middle east, Middle East War, Middle Eastern affairs, Nancy Pelosi, nation of islam, Nazi Pelosi, NY Times, Obama, Obama Jackboots, Obama Tax Plan, Sarah Palin. Leave a Comment »