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FCC’s Chief Diversity Officer Says He’s No ‘Czar’

Mark Lloyd says he's received death threats as result of conservative 'smear campaign'

Federal Communications Commission Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd says he’s no “czar” appointed by President Barack Obama to restore the Fairness Doctrine.

But hhe says he’s received death threats and hate mail after being criticized by conservatives over the defunct doctrine, which mandated that stations air opposing views.

Conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh said earlier in the year Lloyd planned to revive the doctrine in some form. Limbaugh and other conservatives were reacting to some of Lloyd’s writings as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he was co-author of a June 2007 paper, “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio.”

Speaking at a policy forum hosted by the Media Access Project, Lloyd said, “I am not at the FCC to restore the Fairness Doctrine through the front door or the back door, or to carry out a secret plot … to get rid of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or any other conservative talk show host.” Lloyd said the hosts have an ear in Congress and noted that lawmakers control the agency’s funding.

A “right-wing smear campaign” generated the threats, he said, which, in turn, were turned over to the FCC security officials. The campaign “is the price we pay for the freedom of speech. And I do support free speech,” the attorney and former TV journalist said. He came to the commission from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

What he will focus on, said Lloyd, is the broadband rollout and new media, which are almost always influenced by old media, he said, adding that old media have almost always found a way to use and adapt to new media. He stressed that his views are his own, and that he does not speak for the FCC.