FCC Won't Allow 'Diversity' Chief Mark Lloyd to Be Interviewed about Public Policy Views

October 5, 2009 - 6:25 PM
Federal Communication Commission won't allow its Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd to be interviewed about his views on communications policy, even if those views have already received coverage and could be considered controversial.
FCC

Federal Communications Commission headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of FCC)

(CNSNews.com) –The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) won't allow its Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd to be interviewed by the news media about his views and past statements on federal communications policy.

Lloyd, who cites the radical author Saul Alinsky as an inspiration, has argued that public broadcasting outlets in the United States should be funded on a level equal to the funding of private broadcasting companies--with the money coming from licensing fees levied on private broadcasters by the government.

The FCC says it does not allow any commission staffers to be interviewed.

CNSNews.com attempted to interview Lloyd Friday at a public forum held by the FCC. CNSNews.com wanted to ask the FCC diversity chief about policy recommendations he made in his 2006 book Prologue to a Farce and in papers written for the liberal Center for American Progress about changing media ownership rules in the United States, the role of public broadcasting, and the influence of 1960’s radical Saul Alinksy on his views.

FCC Communications Director David Fiske said that like any other federal agency, the FCC does not allow its staff members to be interviewed about themselves or their views, past or present, because it might compromise their ability to make recommendation to policymakers.
 
“It’s not that staff  don’t do interviews, [but] they aren’t personages who do interviews about themselves and their input,” Fiske told CNSNews.com. “The Commission as a whole gets input from dozens of sources. Each commissioner hires their own staff; Chairman [Julius] Genachowski has actually made some comments about [Lloyd].”
 
Commissioners, Fiske said, were the policymakers at FCC and therefore the proper people to interview about what sources and ideas are influencing the Commission’s decisions.
 
“They’re the ones responsible for putting together all the pieces of policy and all the inputs, and all of the experiences, and all the hearings and the record, and they’re the persons who are responsible for making decisions and they’re the ones who talk about them,” said Fiske.
 
Genachowski had explained, in a letter to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the role Lloyd would play at the FCC. Genachowski said that Lloyd’s chief duty was to make sure that a diversity of voices had input on FCC policy.
 
“With respect to Mr. Lloyd,” Genachowski wrote on Aug. 24, “his responsibilities in the Office of General Counsel track Congress’ directive … that the Agency ‘promote the policies and purposes of the Act favoring a diversity of voices’ and enhance opportunities for women, minorities, and small businesses to participate in the communications marketplace, including in the FCC’s auction and licensing processes.”
 
Lloyd wrote in Prologue that the “communications marketplace” should change dramatically, with private broadcasters competing against a nationwide, well-financed public broadcasting corporation funded by the sale of the broadcast licenses Genachowski mentioned in his letter.
 
“The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) must be reformed along democratic lines and funded at a substantial level,” Lloyd wrote. “Federal and regional [public] broadcast operations and local [public] stations should be funded at levels commensurate with or above those spending levels at which commercial operations are funded.”
 
“This funding should come from license fees charged to commercial broadcasters,” wrote Lloyd.  “The FCC should be fully funded with regulatory fees from [private] broadcast, cable, satellite, and telecommunications companies.”
 
Lloyd also wrote that the protests of private broadcasters, who might view such policies as a limitation on their First Amendment rights, were simply exaggerations, saying that the First Amendment had been “warped” to serve international corporations.
 
“[A]ll too often Americans use the First Amendment to end discussions of communications policy,” wrote Lloyd. “This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of communications policies.”
 
“[T]he purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance,” said Lloyd.
 
As CNSNews.com has previously reported, Lloyd believes that to combat the control of international business and restore government to what he sees as its rightful place in managing public communications, a “confrontational movement” must be launched to protest the present order and organize a political movement that could force government to rein the businesses in. http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/53055
 
“If our republican form of government is perishing because communications – the infrastructure of that republic – is under the yoke of international business how, at last, do we save it?” he asks. “We must build a confrontational movement to reclaim our democracy, a movement committed to active and sustained protest against the present order.”
 
To do this, Lloyd draws on his experience lobbying the FCC during the Clinton administration, counseling would-be revolutionaries to follow the tactics used by other left-wing movements, such as the followers of Saul Alinsky and the people who ran the campaign to block Republican Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.

"We understood at the beginning, and were certainly reminded in the course of the campaign," wrote Lloyd, "that our work was not simply convincing policy makers of the logic or morality of our arguments. We understood that we were in a struggle for power against an oppenent, the commercial broadcasters ...."

"We looked to successful political campaigns and organizers as a guide, especially the civil rights movement, Saul Alinsky, and the campaign to prevent the Supreme Court nomination of the ultra-conservative jurist Robert Bork," wrote Lloyd. "From those sources we drew inspiration and guidance."