October 22, 2005

More Arrogance of Power

This story is a couple days old, but worth noting.

As I've mentioned in a previous post, while Rush Limbaugh has been carried on U.S. Armed Services Radio, broadcast to our troops and by extention, millions of people in countries around the world, there is no comparable voice on the left to counter Rush's lies and distortions. The fact is that many people around the world are getting their political information about the U.S. from ... yep.... El Rushbo. And you're paying for it.

AFR's mission is described on their site as, "AFRTS is the American Forces Radio and Television Service. It is part of the Department of Defense, and is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. The AFRTS mission is to communicate Department of Defense policies, priorities, programs, goals and initiatives. AFRTS provides stateside radio and television programming, "a touch of home," to U.S. service men and women, DoD civilians, and their families serving outside the continental United States. AFRTS includes the Radio and Television Production Office (RTPO), The Pentagon Channel NewsCenter, and the Defense Media Center." Apparently, the consider the blatant right-wing propaganda of Limbaugh to be "a touch of home".

It reports that AFR, "...provide(s) multiple television and stereo audio services to over 1,000 outlets in more than 175 countries and U.S. territories, and on board U.S. Navy ships."

Taxpayer funded broadcasting of Limbaugh around the world is, of course, yet more evidence of the sheer arrogance of power in this administration, and amounts to us paying Rush Limbaugh to broadcast Republican propaganda around the world.

Iowa's Sen. Tom Harkin long ago got a non-binding resolution passed asking Armed Services Radio to either drop the big fat idiot or add a comparable show from the left to provide balance. Showing that the administration truly believes that they OWN the country and government, they did nothing.

Now, after years of this outrageous situation existing with nothing being done, , the Pentagon finally indicated that it would begin airing the first hour of the Ed Schultz show on ASR beginning on Oct. 17th. Ed Shultz is a moderate-left radio host based in Fargo, North Dakota. He's been carried on Air America's network, though he's not affiliated with them. I've listened to him a lot and he's good. Not only is he an experienced and professional host, he tends to be a moderate, midwestern brand of liberal with a broad appeal.

Just hours before the show was supposed to begin airing, in a fit of arrogant pique, the same Pentagon press flack that was caught rehearshing troops for Bush's phoney "chat" with them informed Schultz's producers that they were not going to air the show. Then they lied and said it was all a mix up and that it was never decided that they'd air the show.

Schultz explains:
"Armed Forces Radio notified us that we were supposed to start on (Monday)," said Schultz, who broadcasts from Fargo, N.D. "Then my producer got a call from Allison Barber at 6 a.m. saying it's not going to happen. I don't know now if it's ever going to happen. They never gave us a reason."

Barber is the Pentagon's deputy assistant secretary for internal communications.

She was at the center of an embarrassing episode last week when an open mike caught her rehearsing with soldiers in Iraq who were about to talk with President Bush on a televised teleconference call about improving conditions there.

Among those criticizing Barber for "a publicity stunt" was Ed Schultz.

"I called it a joke, an organized event, and compared it to Bush's phony town meetings on Social Security (reform) and the campaign rallies last year where people had to sign a loyalty oath to get in," Schultz said in an interview.

"I might have poked a little fun at Allison Barber, too. But that's talk radio."

Barber was traveling yesterday and couldn't be reached. But Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said "an unfortunate communication from a staff member to the Schultz show" led to the mix-up.

"The Schultz show was never actually scheduled," Whitman said, adding that "it is one of several shows being looked at" as the network considers schedule changes. "This has nothing to do with (Schultz's criticism of Barber and Bush). I understand how one could be suspect, though, given the timing."

AFR, which reaches more than 800,000 military listeners overseas, has long carried Rush Limbaugh's conservative talk show. Democrats had complained for equal time, and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, secured a nonbinding resolution in the Senate urging AFR to offer more political balance in its programming.

Schultz said his show's distributor, Jones Radio, was informed by e-mail on Sept. 29 that the first hour of his three-hour program would be broadcast daily on AFR beginning Monday.

Then came Barber's call pulling the plug.

Schultz, who calls himself a "gun-toting, red-meat-eating lefty," said AFR badly needs political balance.

"I'd say there probably are some Democrats serving overseas who might appreciate a different point of view," Schultz said. "What am I going to say about the Bush Administration that Rush Limbaugh hasn't already said about Hillary Clinton or Ted Kennedy?"
Gen. Wesley Clark's political action committee has sent out an e-mail urging people to take action against this injustice,
Last year, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced a resolution that was unanimously passed by the Senate, urging Secretary Rumsfeld and Armed Forces Radio to ensure more political balance in programming.

It looked like progress was being made when the Pentagon agreed to air the first hour of Ed Schultz's daily radio show live on Armed Forces Radio every day. Then, only hours before the first show would have been broadcast, the Pentagon suddenly reversed the decision and refused to air Ed's program.

We must let our voices be heard and exercise leadership to help ensure that the spirit of Senator Harkin's resolution — and the spirit of fairness — are at play on taxpayer financed programming.

Send an email to your Members of Congress now — urge them to enforce fair play on Armed Forces Radio!
Sign the petition here.

The sample letter found at Clark's site which people can edit and sign makes perfect sense:
It was just 11 years ago when 70 Republican Members of Congress, led by then Congressman Robert Dornan (R-CA), demanded that President Clinton's Secretary of Defense Les Aspin broadcast Rush Limbaugh's radio and television programs to the military.

Well if Armed Services Radio is good enough for Rush Limbaugh, it's certainly good enough for Ed Schultz.

I urge you to call on the Pentagon to honor their promise and air the Ed Schultz Show on Armed Forces Radio. It's time to restore political balance in the programming being broadcast to our men and women in uniform.


At 10/22/2005 10:09 PM, Blogger youngridemocrat said...

It's appalling there is no balance of views presented to our fine young men and women in uniform.
There is no reason they should be fed a steady diet or Rush Limbaugh without someone like Ed SHultze from the other side. I have contacted my congressman and senators to urge them to push for fair and balanced news coverage on our armed services radio because, after all, those are our tax dollars being spent to pay for that radio!

At 10/22/2005 11:06 PM, Blogger diehard said...

Another example of how the wealthy right wing will try something to see if they can get away with it.
And as usual, they do. The press is asleep at the wheel or does not want to cover this.
And our lawmakers are crippled by weak vasalating men afraid of the next election.
PT Barnum used to make a pretty good living beting on the stupidity of the American public and he wasn't wrong!

At 10/23/2005 10:16 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

I am appalled at the total blatant arrogance of this administration and of the people running our armed services.

This is just one more example of why the Right wing Republicans will never succeed in gutting NPR radio funding. They know the following that NPR has amongst the mainstream. That is also why they are afraid to expose our young troops' minds to the other side to the center or left views. That would mean loss of the crucial votes they needed the last two times Chimpy got put into office.

And after all, those poor troops serving our country don't even get a private ballott anymore. It's a sham and a joke how the soldiers are allowed to vote over the internet and via fax --not in private in sealed ballot -- where tons of people can see exactly how they cast their votes and for whom.

I am aware of some servicemen and women who don't vote because they are democrats and don't want the shit they will get from above if they float their ballot from Iraq home and they didn't vote for Chimpy.... or his cronies.

America is not as free as Bush wants us all to believe. What are we fighting for? Not freedom for ourselves that is for sure!

At 12/22/2007 6:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just another way for the libs to stop free speech. If the rest of the American public doesn't agree with there viewpoint they start a campaine to make everyone affraid to speek there minds for fear that they will be tought of as some kind of evel person. I may not always agree with the things being said on the radio but I would never stop them from being said. This is just what this kind of law is going to do no matter how you try to present it. Nobody in this country is forced to listen to what Rush Limbough has to say All you have to do is turn the radio off.

At 12/22/2007 9:14 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Well, you demonstrated that you failed to even bother reading the entire post before commenting.

Either that or your too um.. dim.. to catch the fact that no one is trying to push comedian Limbaugh off the air.

Apparently you can't grasp the problem with allowing one gasbag who constantly demeans one party while excusing the crimes of another to broadcast to our military around the world, while not allowing a similarly liberal host to do so as well.

You don't see a problem with that?

What if they were airing someone like Al Franken or one of your favorite liberal boogie-men to all our hundreds of thousands of troops, and NOT broadcasting old cyst butt chicken hawk Limbaugh?

You'd be screaming bloody murder and you know it.

But yet according to you, the mean old liberals are trying to censor Limbaugh. Amazing.

The government has no business being in the business of broadcasting slanted political programing from either side. And if they do, they need to do it from both sides, not just one.

Hopefully even you can see the fairness of that.


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