Just like I did last Friday I decided to call Senator Bond and Senator McCaskill’s DC office and inquire of their positions on the FCC Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd. For those that don’t know about Mr. Lloyd here is a brief examination.
I love quotes because you can’t argue with them. The first three come from his 2006 book Prologue to a Farce:
“It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press… 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 other communications policies.”
“The FCC should be fully funded with regulatory fees from broadcast, cable, satellite, and telecommunications companies. The FCC should be staffed at regional offices at levels sufficient to monitor and enforce communication.”
“Federal and regional broadcast operations and local 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. Funding should not come from congressional appropriations. Sponsorship should be prohibited at all public broadcasters.”
Going further in this same book he proposes license fees equal to their TOTAL OPERATING COSTS and that money should be used to fund public broadcasting. I assume it’s obvious, but I am going to point this out. It would be impossible for a private company to pay a tax equal to their operating costs especially if that tax was suddenly levied by the FCC in the guise of a fee. This is an outright attack on the first amendment and freedom of speech.
So what did our Senators say?
First Mr. Bond’s office. I asked the question and was told that the Senator does not have a position on Mark Lloyd. I politely encouraged him to take a position and do something about this individual. One hopes that he will follow the same path as he did on Friday with Van Jones.
Second, Ms. McCaskill’s office. For those that have called Ms. McCaskill’s office, you know it’s kind of like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Except you actually have a good idea, because whoever bought these chocolates bought them at the dollar store, so there is a good chance they won’t be very good.
I asked my question and the first response was that she had no stated position but would pass the comments along. Then the conversation became entertaining. The the staffer said basically the same thing I was told on Friday by one of the other staffers. “You know you really ought to direct your comments at the White House because this was an executive level appointment.” So I reminded the staffer that this is actually some place that Ms. McCaskill should have a position because part of her role in the legislature is to keep an eye on the other level of government. Plus at the end of the day she is a representative who was once a citizen, one would think this might bug her.
So then the staffer decided that she was going to ask me a question. She asks me how Mark Lloyd’s idea of a license fee on talk radio is an infringement on the first amendment. Fair enough it’s not directly related but the effect of the action is the issue at hand. You know if there was any larger proof that basic economics is as well understood by American’s as they understand the Chinese language, I don’t know where you would find it. So let me lay this out for people who think this way. If you levy a fee on a business equal to its operating costs then you are effectively forcing that business to double it’s costs! It will not survive, there is no way to derive enough revenue from consumers. The bread and butter of talk radio is advertising revenue. Do you honestly think that an advertiser is going to continue to advertise if their costs to advertise just doubled?!
Mark Lloyd seems to think that talk radio is 91% conservative and 9% progressive. Mark Lloyd is a progressive. By even concocting such an idea his intentions are clearly obvious. This would be an infringement on freedom of speech and our first amendment rights. Inaction by Ms. McCaskill and Mr. Bond would be a direct dereliction of their duty to defend and protect freedom of speech in this country. At the end of the day, they are citizens of this country so it is their freedom of speech as well we are discussing here. They ought to be screaming from the rooftops about this appointment. Instead, Ms. McCaskill’s staffer wanted to interrogate me.
Please call Senator McCaskill and Bond’s DC office if you live in Missouri and let them know how you feel.
An update and a correction 9/8/09 6:26 PM
Something was pointed out to me and I wanted to put this out there. It makes this even worse for Ms. McCaskills office. You see Ms. McCaskill is on the Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee. If you look at the jurisdiction of the committee here you find that the third item on the list is COMMUNICATION! Should we interpret Ms. McCaskills staff member’s comments as dishonest or incompetent?
Apparently the diversity officer is not an executive level appointment but one who is chosen by the FCC chairman J. Genachowski. I apologize, I was incorrect. But, this makes Ms. McCaskill’s staffer completely wrong. This isn’t something I should address with the White House and in fact I am talking to the right people and they don’t even know it. What is going on in McCaskill’s office and why isn’t her staff properly informed?