Honig Sends Letter To Genachowski In Support of Lloyd

FCC's chief diversity officer has been criticized for prior positions on conservative talk radio, fairness doctrine

FCC diversity committee member David Honig sent a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Thursday in support of Mark Lloyd, the FCC's chief diversity officer, a position he encouraged the FCC to create.

Lloyd has come under fire from conservative radio and TV commentators and some Republican legislators over past writings and positions on conservative talk radio and the fairness doctrine.

In the letter, Honig, who is president and executive director of the Minority Media & Telecommunications Counsel, but was speaking for himself and not the association, said that he also disagrees with some of Lloyds writings, but that should not disqualify Lloyd from holding a post he is well qualified for.

"Some have suggested that your Chief Diversity Officer, Mark Lloyd, is not qualified because in 2007 he co-authored a book, The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio," said Honig. "The fact that some people (including me) disagree with some of Mr. Lloyd’s writings has no place in your evaluation of Mr. Lloyd’s qualifications. Free speech is a must for everyone, including Mark Lloyd. He didn’t speak or write as an FCC employee, express his opinions on behalf of the FCC, and is not employed in a position where his opinions (as he’s expressed them) matter to his job performance or qualifications."

But while Honig said the recommendation for the post was to oversee FCC processes aimed at promoting diversity in media ownership, at a House Communications Subcommittee FCC oversight hearing last week, Chairman Genachowksi said Lloyd would not be dealing with station licensing issues, but would instead be concentrating on broadband.

"Mr. Lloyd is a subject matter expert on universal service," continued Honig in his letter, a copy of which was obtained by B&C. "Telecom deployment and diversity. He taught communications policy and conducted research as a visiting scholar at MIT; he served as General Counsel to the Benton Foundation; and he worked for nearly 20 years as a journalist, reporting and producing on several networks and winning several awards.

"Obviously he is well qualified to serve as Chief Diversity Officer."