A Zogby poll commissioned by a conservative activist included a question falsely claiming that Federal Communications Comission official Mark Lloyd "wants the FCC to force good white people in positions of power in the broadcast industry to step down to make room for more African-Americans and gays to fill those positions." In fact, in audio clips conservatives have circulated of a speech Lloyd made four years before joining the FCC, Lloyd does not suggest that the FCC or any other government agencies should do anything -- let alone require white people to "step down" -- to increase diversity in the broadcast industry.
Zogby poll question distorted Lloyd's comments
A Zogby Interactive poll conducted October 23-26 asked respondents:
Federal Communications Commission Chief Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd wants the FCC to force good white people in positions of power in the broadcast industry to step down to make room for more African-Americans and gays to fill those positions. Do you agree or disagree that this presents a threat to free speech?
Lloyd has not said FCC should "force good white people" to step down
Lloyd made comments years before joining FCC, did not address role of FCC in increasing diversity. According to audio circulating on conservative blogs and aired on Fox News' Glenn Beck, at the May 2005 National Conference for Media Reform, Lloyd -- then a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and currently FCC associate general counsel and chief diversity officer -- did not say the FCC should "force good white people in positions of power in the broad cast industry to step down." Indeed, Lloyd did not mention the FCC or government agencies in his discussion of the need for diversity in the broadcast industry. Rather, he stated:
There is nothing more difficult than this, because we have really, truly good white people in important positions. And the fact of the matter is that there are a limited number of those positions. And unless we are conscious of the need to have more people of color, gays, other people in those positions we will not change the problem.
We're in a position where you have to say who is going to step down so someone else can have power.
Poll reportedly commissioned by right-wing activist with history of ordering misleading Zogby polls
O'Leary reportedly commissioned poll. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's Peter Hart reported that he received an email on the poll from conservative activist Brad O'Leary's public relations outfit with the subject line "President Obama's Attacks on Free Speech Opposed by Most Americans, Zogby/O'Leary Poll Finds." According to his website, O'Leary is "president of ATI-News, an online magazine and information Website that provides links to more than 750 English newspapers and magazines worldwide," "Chairman of the Board of PM Direct Marketing, one of the country's leading Perception Management firm" and "bestselling author of twelve books," including the WorldNetDaily-published The Audacity of Deceit: Barack Obama's War on American Values.
O'Leary previously commissioned Zogby poll asking slanted questions about stimulus. As Media Matters for America senior fellow Eric Boehlert noted, in February, O'Leary sent a press release highlighting an "ATI News/Zogby International poll" which included the following questions:
"Some people say that the nearly one trillion dollars in debt and subsequent interest incurred by the stimulus bill during an economic downturn will make the recovery hard to achieve. Do you agree or disagree?"
"Some Republicans say the Obama stimulus package spends too much and stimulates too little. Do you agree or disagree?"
"Most Republicans oppose the currently proposed stimulus bill supported by President Obama because they say there is too much money being spent for non-stimulus items. Do you agree or disagree that too much money is being spent on items that won't improve the economy?"