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November 10, 2005

Ed Schultz on American Forces Radio; debate in Congress

According to this, Big Dumb Ed will soon appear on the Armed Forces Radio Network, but "soon" has not yet been defined. Backstory on this issue here.

Now, we can argue about whether AFRN has "relented" as the Denver Post says or not, but there's a much more ominous news story behind all this.

That's described in "Inhofe debates defense radio". On Tuesday Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) squared off over AFRN in the U.S. Senate. As previously discussed, Harkin wants to legislate "progressive" radio onto the air. He wants to appoint an independent ombudsman to make sure that AFRN's programming is "fair and balanced":
...Harkin said the airing of conservative views without any competing shows is "unfair. This is censorship. This is propagandizing our troops."

Inhofe, a Tulsa Republican, said the network has a policy that it won't consider airing talk show programs unless they are syndicated and have at least 1 million listeners.

He said the Defense Department had recently agreed to add liberal talk show hosts Franken and Ed Schultz to their programming because the two had reached that threshold.

But Inhofe said he had talked to troops in Iraq about the current programming and that they were satisfied with it.

He also said Limbaugh's show represents only 3 percent of the weekly scheduled programming, but that National Public Radio is aired 24 hours a week.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said he could understand why Inhofe didn't object to the network's programming since it favored his party, but he argued that National Public Radio is neutral programming that doesn't offset conservative shows.

"National Public Radio doesn't balance right-wing talk," Dorgan said.

Inhofe offered an amendment that would allow the Defense Department to hire an ombudsman to monitor programming, but his language was nonbinding, meaning it didn't have the force of law and didn't require Pentagon action.

Inhofe's amendment passed by a vote of 55 to 43. The Senate then rejected Harkin's amendment by a vote of 54-44.

Posted in Ed Schultz at November 10, 2005 01:25 AM


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