Thursday, October 20, 2005

Wes Clark, Ed Schultz and fairness on radio

Many of you probably already know Ed Schultz, a prominent progressive radio talk show host who is syndicated nationwide. You may not know what happened this week though.

After being told that the first hour of Ed Schultz's daily radio show would air live on Armed Forces Radio every day, the Pentagon suddenly reversed the decision and refused to air Ed's program Monday morning, only hours before the first show would have been broadcast. The explanation for this sudden reversal seems weak.

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. Then, at the end of September, Manny Levy, Chief of the Radio Division of the American Forces Network Broadcast Center, advised Schultz's distributor, Jones Radio, that: "AFN Radio has squared away everything on our end to begin carrying the first hour of 'The Ed Schultz Show' each day, beginning Monday, October 17, 2005."

But suddenly, at 7 am on Monday the 17th, Allison Barber, the Pentagon's deputy assistant secretary for internal communications -- the same person who was responsible for staging last week's ill-fated video conference between President Bush and American troops in Iraq -- called Schultz's producer. Without any further explanation, she simply said that the deal was off.

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!

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.

Tell your Members of Congress to urge the Pentagon to honor their promise and air the Ed Schultz Show on Armed Forces Radio!


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