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Grassley Seeks Reassurance on Fairness Doctrine

Mark Lloyd at the FCC gets the attention of anti-doctrine hawks

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is seeking reassurance from Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski that the FCC leader won’t reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.

Though Genachowski said during his nomination hearing that he wouldn’t, Grassley fears the rise of the essence of the defunct Fairness Doctrine under another name through a so-called “backdoor method.”

That’s because of the political writings of Genachowski appointee Mark Lloyd.

Lloyd is now associate general counsel and chief diversity officer for the FCC. He’s also is one of the authors of a 2007 Center for American Progress-Free Press report, “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio.”

Grassley said in a letter to Genachowski that Lloyd’s paper (PDF) argued that radio programming was “imbalanced” and that there are “serious questions about whether the companies licensed to broadcast over the public airwaves are serving the listening needs of all Americans.”

The authors suggest three remedies to fix the “imbalance” in political talk radio, including restoring caps on commercial radio station ownership, ensuring greater “accountability” in licensing and requiring owners who fail to enforce public interest ownership obligations to pay a fee, potentially raising between $100 million to $250 million, according to Grassley’s summary.