Mark Lloyd, the Diversity Officer at the FCC

A version of Mark Lloyd's Diversity Metric Formula

The Lloyd and Napoli simple equation (2007) was applied to both the Hispanic television and radio industries in these two specific cities.

(A) x (B) x (C) / N = D

∑ of D’s = M

A = Outlet (value = 1)

B = Potential audience reach (i.e. percentage of Hispanics in the market)

C = Content (provision of local news = 1; non provision of local news = 0)

N = Number of outlets owned by the owner

D = Diversity contribution of owner

M = Diversity metric for market

This equation seems extremely arbitrary to me. There is really no explanation that I can find for the form that it takes, but the bottom line is that it seems driven to make the measured level of diversity as low as possible. Here is a brief discussion of what this equation means:

Take variable C. No weight is give to stations if they do not produce local and original news content or public affairs programming. They are given a weight of one if they produce any local and original news content or public affairs programming. In other words, the station could have hours of talk radio or make political comments between songs and they wouldn't be given any weight. Also network news for Univision Radio and Border Media Partners presumably at least occasionally carries local news stories that are of interest to local Hispanics (for example, something big might effect Hispanics in Texas and it gets covered), but the weight given to that news coverage is still zero.

The written discussion indicates that weight is only given to stations that are apparently 100 percent owned by people of Spanish heritage (Hispanics, Mexicans, Venezuelans, etc.). No weight is given to non-Spanish stations where the news director or the reporters are Hispanic. Presumably Hispanics own stock in Citadel or Westwood One or Disney, but those ownership shares do not count at all. I assume that this is what variable A stands for.

Take variable B. This is very strange because if there are no Hispanics in a market, the market cannot be diverse. You could have all the radio and TV stations owned by Hispanics and producing local news, but without any Hispanics in the area the variable B would equal zero and zero time anything else is still zero, so there would be no diversity.

Finally, even if you have 10 Hispanic stations that provided local news and were completely owned by Hispanics, if you had two companies owning five companies each, that would only count as two stations. This dramatically reduces any measure of diversity. In theory, some radio stations might have talk aimed at liberals and some at conservatives, but that wouldn't matter in terms of diversity.

The bottom line is that this definition of diversity dramatically underestimates the news and information provided by Hispanics to other Hispanics. Presumably the definition was chosen precisely to make diversity look as low as possible.

Lloyd's original report with Phil Napoli is available here.

Here is Mark Lloyd's view on Hugo Chavez.

"In Venezuela, with Chavez, is really an incredible revolution - a democratic revolution. To begin to put in place things that are going to have an impact on the people of Venezuela.

"The property owners and the folks who then controlled the media in Venezuela rebelled - worked, frankly, with folks here in the U.S. government - worked to oust him. But he came back with another revolution, and then Chavez began to take very seriously the media in his country.

"And we've had complaints about this ever since."

So this is the "democratic" country that Chavez is trying to create.

CARACAS, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Venezuela will pull the plug on 29 more radio stations, a top official in President Hugo Chavez's government said on Saturday, just weeks after dozens of other outlets were closed in a media clampdown.

Infrastructure Minister Diosdado Cabello closed 34 radio stations in July, saying the government was "democratizing" media ownership. Critics say the move limits freedom of expression and has taken critical voices off the airwaves.

The powerful Chavez ally has threatened to close over 100 stations in total, part of a long-term campaign against private media that the government says are biased against Chavez's government.

"Another 29 will be gone before long," he told thousands of Chavez supporters at a political rally, without giving details which stations would be closed or when.

Cabello also said he was launching a new legal case against Globovision, the country's most prominent anti-government television network, accusing it of inciting a coup against Chavez. . . .

The Politico has this discussion:

Conservatives have accused Lloyd, appointed by the Federal Communications Commission as the agency’s Chief Diversity officer in late July, of secretly wanting to reinstate the controversial Fairness Doctrine — a regulation the FCC abolished in 1987 that required broadcasters to present contrasting views on important and controversial issues. Conservatives radio hosts have said Obama wants to reinstate it, and that it would push them off the air.

In right-wing media, where Lloyd has been christened Obama’s "diversity czar," pundits rail against the former vice president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and Massachusetts Institute of Technology law professor. . . . .

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley has picked up the call. "Mr. Lloyd supports a backdoor method of furthering the goals of the Fairness Doctrine by other means," he wrote in an August letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.

But in a 2007 report for the liberal Center for American Progress, where he was a senior fellow, Lloyd noted that conservative shows dominate the airways — but did not endorse the Fairness Doctrine.

"We call for ownership rules that we think will create greater local diversity of programming, news, and commentary," he wrote in a July article about the paper. "But we do not call for a return to the Fairness Doctrine."

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Blogger TooMuchTime said...

This is typical liberal/socialist math. Remember this garbage?

N=N*fp ne fl fi fc fL

It's the Drake equation from the 1960s to estimate the number of advanced civilizations in the galaxy. Where N is the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy; fp is the fraction with planets; ne is the number of planets per star capable of supporting life; fl is the fraction of planets where life evolves; fi is the fraction where intelligent life evolves; and fc is the fraction that communicates; and fL is the fraction of the planet's life during which the communicating civilizations live.

Since the numbers can be anything, the equation means nothing.

Why do we always get treated to liberal "science" as if it's the truth? So Lloyd and Napoli have become the 21st Century version of Drake.

9/08/2009 1:16 PM  

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