Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Ed Schultz Radio Show Prevented from Armed Force Network
(10/17/2005 ) Military reverses plan to add Ed Schultz show to Armed Forces Radio.
The United States' military's Armed Forces Radio has reversed a decision to add The Ed Schultz show to their lineup abroad, RAW STORY has learned.
Schultz was told Sept. 29 he would be added to the military's programming today. That decision was reversed this morning. His producers are currently seeking answers from the military.
On his program Friday, Schultz attacked Alison Barber, an Armed Forces official, over President Bush's staged conversation with U.S. troops in Iraq. Barber is an Assistant Secretary of Defense.
Armed Forces Radio provides programming to American troops wherever they are stationed abroad. The network carries newscasts from a variety of outlets, including NPR and the Associated Press, along with commentary from Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, among others.
"Barber told [producer] James Holm that the Ed Shultz show would not start on AFR today because her boss, Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita, was out of the country and couldn’t approve it. Barber also said she was going out of the country soon for a week-and-a-half. Holm asked Barber if the show would begin when DiRita and Barber returned. Barber said she couldn’t guarantee that.
"Here’s the really interesting part. Barber told Holm she heard Ed announced that he would begin on AFR during his show Friday. Shultz’s show Friday began with audio outtakes of Barber sounding foolish as she rehearsed the troops “Q&A session” with Bush."
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) won approval last year for a nonbinding resolution urging Armed Forces Radio to offer more political balance in programming. Limbaugh strongly objected, noting that the network carries National Public Radio and declaring, "I am the political balance."
Late last month, Manny Levy, chief of the radio division for Armed Forces Network, told Schultz's distributor, Jones Radio, by e-mail: "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."
Levy added: "I'm sorry that there were so many panicked, 'I need an answer soon' calls, false starts and unexpected delays on our end. An awful lot of people in the government had (or tried to have) a hand in [the] program selection process that ended with the decision to add 'The Ed Schultz Show.' "
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said last night that Levy "got ahead of the process" and that no decision had been made in a review of which programming to add to the network. When asked about Schultz's insistence that his criticism of Barber played a role, Whitman called that "an unfortunate misperception on his part. That has nothing to do with this."
And this from UPI:
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman denied any connection between the Barber tape and the decision to cancel Schultz's radio show. He confirmed the Armed Forces Radio Network is looking to diversify its offerings - it currently carries conservatives Rush Limbaugh and James Dobson's Focus on the Family — but said no offers have yet been made, including to Schultz.
GOI: The over-whelming shows carried on the Armed Forces Network are conservative and that is not Constitutional in my opinion. The U.S. military represents ALL Americans and since the military and AFN are supported by tax dollars the network should have a balance between right and left radio shows. American soldiers fight for the rights of all Americans and one of the most important right is freedom of speech. Of all people soldiers should have the right to listen to a myriad of political voices on the radio as they are themselves engaged daily in the protection of said right.
UPDATE (EDIT of email address):
I have sent an email to the AFN regarding my protests and if you agree then I urge you to contact them as well. Here is the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
I would also recommend writing and/or calling your Senator and Representative about this issue.
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