Friday, March 25, 2011

NPR and AFRTS Won't Be Chopped

On Blogcritics, where my NPR piece appeared, someone commented, “No other broadcast entity is supported by the government (except its propaganda outlets like V of A and Radio Marti . . . ” I had to reply.

Actually there is. AFRTS, Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, is part of the Department of Defense.

As a graduate of the Defense Information School, which trains all AFRTS personnel, let me assure you that AFRTS is in no danger of being defunded. It broadcasts Rush Limbaugh as part of its “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.” Those are places like Afghanistan and Iraq, among others.

Don’t forget that House Republicans held an emergency session on HR 1076 waiving O'Keefe’s misleading editing, distorted quotes, and untruth and promoted his tape as gospel. The emergency was on. They won.

The bill has no chance in the Senate. The president has a pen full of veto ink. NPR will continue to receive federal funding, as will the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, those “frivolous” institutions recently trashed by the Arch Republican Sarah Palin.

By the way, AFRTS is available in Sweden and Israel.

Someone commented that they were “concerned that AFRTS has become an Establishment propaganda tool which is financed by the taxpayer” and asks about it’s scheduling. Again, I had to reply.

First and foremost let me point out that the service is for Armed Forces and Department of Defense personnel serving the United States overseas, not in the continental US. For scheduling, you should look to AFN, American Forces Network, which is a part of the Department of Defense (DoD).

Second, one could argue that AFRTS is an establishment propaganda tool, that establishment being the federal military/industrial establishment, once again the DoD. One could also argue that the context in which the word “propaganda” is used must be considered. The context usually depends on what side one is on.

Third, with regard to scrutiny and budget trimming, that goes directly to the DoD Budget itself, which is Holy to Republicans. They would just as soon burn an autographed picture of Ronald Reagan than to touch the so called Defense budget. But that is what would have to happen before any cutting of the pittance paid for media.

In 1947 the DoD, the acronym for United States Department of Defense, is what became of the Department of War, which was founded in 1789. It has the largest budget of any US Department headed by a single secretary. Its budget is more than 4.5 % of Assumed Nominal GDP and accounts for more than 21% of the US Federal Budget. One wonders if it would be so much if it was still called the Department of War.

Name changes and propaganda give us the US Navy as a "Global Force for Good". Good aiming, see CNN. While I am at it, the job of the US Army and US Marine Corps is not peace keeping. Their job is to seek out an enemy and to destroy it.

Take it from a former US Army propagandist [Awards winning Military Journalist]. But, I digress.

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