Television entertainer Glen Beck has launched a foaming at the mouth, 24/7 voodoo-rant campaign aimed at getting FCC Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd fired. Mr. Entertainer is playing fast and loose with the facts—not to mention reality.
Know this: Everything Beck wants you to believe about Lloyd is either wrong, a figment of his paranoid imagination, a product of pretzel logic or written in lipstick on the back of a soiled cocktail napkin. OK, ok… I made up the part about the cocktail napkin. But, c’mon, how much credibility can you give Beck when he can’t even get Lloyd’s official title right? Beck insists on calling Lloyd a “czar” in the Obama administration; yet the position that Lloyd holds at the FCC has no more a “Czar” than a parking lot attendant is transportation “czar.”
My good friend Art Brodsky, in a blog post for Public Knowledge, outlines Lloyd’s current job like this:
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on July 29 that Lloyd had been named associate general counsel and chief diversity officer. As a rule, it’s not that big a deal to become an associate general counsel in an independent regulatory agency. It’s a nice job with some potentially interesting work, but all things being equal, hardly the equivalent of, say, a presidential chief of staff, or even of an FCC commissioner. The FCC release said Lloyd, and others, “will collaborate on the policies and legal framework necessary to expand opportunities for women, minorities, and small businesses to participate in the communications marketplace.” In other words, Lloyd and others will make sure that broadband policy, for example, leads to improvements for everyone – from rural areas and urban areas alike.
Even a cursory perusal of Lloyd’s background will prove out that is a big fan of making sure that our public airwaves are open to a diverse range of voices, the more the better. “We do not have a Democracy without the ability to communicate,” he said during last year’s National Conference for Media Reform. Lloyd’s background as an award winning broadcast journalist gives him some street creed to wade in on the state of communications and citizen participation.
Schoolyard Bully Threatened
Beck also feels threatened by Lloyd’s uncanny ability to peek behind the curtain of mainstream media and lay bare some of its “inconvenient truths.” If anything, Beck’s victim syndrome is narcissistic; as a mainstream media ex-patriot, Lloyd is an equal opportunity critic. “The number one problem why we can’t have an intelligent dialog is the media,” said Lloyd. One of the most important tasks we, as a country, should strive for, Lloyd said, is to “create a culture of media criticism in this country, to make sure we continue to put pressure on mainstream media.”
Unlike the wild accusations of entertainer Beck and crew, Lloyd doesn’t advocate achieving goals by way of grisly proletariat media rebellion, rather he has been a tireless champion of making sure that the PUBLIC’S AIRWAVES are a conduit for diverse range of voices. He would no more tolerate a media atmosphere shot through with Liberal thought than he does the current 91 percent saturation rate of U.S. talk shows by right wing ideology.
And now entertainer Beck has uncorked the “smoking gun” about Lloyd: he is a commie sympathizer!! The commie in this scenario is Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, the new poster boy for socialism, communism and any other “ism” entertainers like Beck want to tag him with. Just the name Chavez makes a little bile creep into the back of the throat of teabaggers. Beck is trying to paint Lloyd as Chavez-loving, U.S. traitor. It all stems from comments Lloyd made on a panel during last year’s National Media Reform conference.
On that panel, Lloyd used a couple of examples to highlight how corrupt people could hold unswerving power over a nation by way of controlling the airwaves. He cited the Rwandan Genocide as one example and then he cited the Chavez takeover of media as the second example. In the course of explaining how Chavez came to understand the power of controlling the media, Lloyd made a comment about the “incredible revolution,” which, in the aftermath of the coup de taut that brought Chavez to power, spawned the country’s first democratic elections. But Chavez himself fell victim to rebellion, quickly seized his power back, only THIS TIME he also seized control of the media, of the airwaves, because, in Lloyd’s words, “Chavez began to take very seriously the media in his country.”
Step Back from the Ledge, Beck
Let me deconstruct these words for you in context. Beck abuses this tactic, making up fact, spinning and twisting ideology mixed with real time “evidence.” It’s the classic magician’s redirect, get the audience looking one way and pull a fast one right under their nose. If you can stomach it, first watch this clip of Beck.
The convenient transcription supplied in that clip by Fox News is shoddy, and the audio isn’t exactly pristine. To get the full impact of Lloyd’s words, I tracked down a recording from the actual audio feed at the conference. Lloyd’s remarks about Chavez start at 14:01. Here is the verbatim transcription:
In Venezuela, with Chavez, really had an incredible revolution, a democratic revolution, to begin to put in place things that were going to have an impact on the people in Venezuela. The property owners and the folks who were then controlling the media in Venezuela rebelled, worked, frankly with folks here in the U.S. government, worked to oust him and but he came back and a another revolution and then Chavez began to take very seriously, media in his country and, ah, we’ve had complaints about this ever since.
Did you catch that classic “inconvenient truth” moment? The small, unassuming seven-word phrase at the very end? The critical seven words that Beck conveniently CUT OUT of this video rant? Let me again quote them to you: “…we’ve had complaints about this ever since.”
Lloyd is acknowledging that he and U.S. foreign policy in general have a big problem with how Chavez has nationalized the airwaves; he’s not praising Chavez at all.
Perhaps Beck can spin up a comedy routine; it’s laughable that he spends all his time whipping himself into a lather, trying to put Lloyd in Chavez’s back pocket and suddenly runs into that last phrase, a phrase which says undeniably that the Chavez system of media take over is unacceptable, that it’s a problem. MEMO TO BECK: Fire your research assistants; then fire yourself.
See… you went and got me all worked up over nothing.