FCC Diversity Chief Asked Liberals to Copy FDR

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Federal Communications Commission Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd called on fellow liberals to follow the model of former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and challenge conservative media moguls and station owners, particularly figures such as Rush Limbaugh, Rupert Murdoch, and “a pro-big business Supreme Court aligned” with them.

Lloyd made the call in a 2007 article for the liberal Center for American Progress while he was a senior fellow there.

Entitled “Media Maneuvers: Why the Rush to Waive Cross-Ownership Bans,” the article ostensibly talks about the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to allow Chicago real estate mogul Sam Zell to purchase the then-failing Chicago Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

Lloyd, however, uses the Zell case, in which Zell ultimately prevailed, to make a broader argument that liberals should look to the tactics employed by FDR to combat his conservative critics in the media, saying that liberals must challenge outspoken conservatives who own media outlets.

“Progressives should take a page from FDR’s media diversity playbook,” Lloyd wrote. “[A]t the end of a second FDR administration [in 1940] when the New Dealers were still battling a conservative print media and a conservative Supreme Court to fix the great debacle of American capitalism – the Great Depression.

“FDR’s fireside chats and his ready access to radio allowed him to speak directly to Americans and continue to push a progressive agenda,” said Lloyd. “But FDR was becoming increasingly concerned about the purchase of radio operations by the newspaper publishers.”

Former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Lloyd highlights one Roosevelt tactic in particular, using the Justice Department to take his conservative media critics to court on anti-trust grounds. He highlights the case of then Chicago Tribune publisher Col. Robert R. McCormick, a stalwart Roosevelt critic.

Says Lloyd: “One of the most vehement Roosevelt-haters was Col. Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. McCormick considered it his duty to remove Roosevelt from office and he used every means at his disposal to further this aim, including his radio station WGN (AM).

“But there is little doubt that FDR understood what he was up against,” wrote Lloyd. “He understood not only how to use media effectively, but also the importance of media ownership and the rules that determined media ownership.”...

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