The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

18 October 2005

Liberal Host Kept From Military Radio


Schultz Claims Politics Kept Him From Armed Forces Radio

For two publicity-craving liberal talk hosts looking to milk recent circumstances, results are so far mixed.

Ed Schultz thought he had a deal to broadcast to U.S. soldiers, but the Pentagon now says otherwise.In part one here, Fargo, North Dakota-based Ed Schultz is reaping a mini-whirlwind of press attention, for making unsubstantiated claims against Armed Forces Radio.

Possibly in response to a Democrat-led push for greater ideological programming "balance" on global military broadcasts, the Ed Schultz show was, in theory at least, to begin Monday. Instead, his nationally syndicated program was halted before even a single airing.

Was it ever actually approved for the military radio network, however?

Sensing a publicity opportunity, Schultz immediately went on the offensive, accusing Armed Forces Radio of censorship. Not surprisingly, a number of liberal blogs picked up the story Monday night, having heard Eddie's on-air rantings.

And just as predictably, the ultra-lefty People For The American Way slapped out an instant anti-military press release:

Washington – People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas said his organization will ask activists to pepper the Pentagon with calls to put Ed Schultz’s talk radio program on the American Forces Radio Network (AFRN), after plans to air the program were scrapped by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Allison Barber, the “coach” of the now-infamous staged, scripted satellite feed featuring President Bush and troops in Iraq.

Schultz, who does a nationally syndicated talk radio show from his home in Fargo, North Dakota, received word last week that his show would debut today on the taxpayer-funded radio network for U.S. troops around the world. Last Friday, Schultz played excerpts of Barber coaching the troops in the satellite feed.

At 6 a.m. today, Schultz’s producer, James Holm, received a phone call from Allison Barber. Barber informed Holm that AFRN would not air Schultz’s show today, and that she could not guarantee the show would ever be added to the network.

“It certainly looks like retribution. Why else would a top Pentagon official personally reverse a decision made far below her rank?” asked Ralph G. Neas, President of People For the American Way. “It looks again like this administration is using brute force to quash voices of dissent and limit criticism of its actions. That’s just wrong.”

What did take the Radio Equalizer's breath away, however, was the speed in which the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz jumped on Schultz's baseless, evidence-free charges.

After all, this is the same paper that avoided covering the Air America scandal (apparently on the grounds it wasn't a Beltway-area story, despite a local affiliate), but here jumped on this chance to pound on the Pentagon, over what should have been a petty non-issue:

Perhaps, Schultz said in an interview, it was just a coincidence that he spent the end of last week chastising Barber for coaching a group of U.S. soldiers in Iraq before a teleconference with President Bush.

"It kind of floored us," Schultz said from his studio in North Dakota. "The fact is, they don't want dissenting voices or any other kind of speech unless it's going to be promotional for them. Obviously, these people are making sure they're not going to have any opinion other than the Rush Limbaughs of the world."

What floors the Radio Equalizer is how this conspiratorial sour grapes-fest was deemed newsworthy at the Washington Post. Meanwhile, the diversion of $875,000 in taxpayer funds from a community center to a liberal radio network was not.

While his program is produced by Democracy Radio and Jones Radio Networks of Denver, it's an interesting question to ask nonetheless.

This appears near the end of Kurtz's story and quickly changes its tone:

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said last night that (Manny) 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."

Especially fascinating: the immediate assumption of Pentagon dishonesty, while critics are highly regarded and personal motives left unquestioned.

How can we tell? Because a story about a small liberal talk show host losing a network affiliation otherwise wouldn't be considered news.

radio spacerSure enough, there's plenty of room for NPR's left-leaning programming on Armed Forces Radio, so what's the real issue here?

And if it really is about programming content, or "retribution" in the eyes of the left, is that wrong? Should our troops overseas be hearing talk shows that ridicule, or otherwise undermine their efforts?

Obviously, Kurtz and others want to turn him into a "resistance" hero. Oddest irony: many so-called "progressives" don't trust Schultz, because they see his viewpoints as too moderate and inconsistent.

In part two, another host hopes military enemies will provide a boost. How's it going so far?

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Schultz photo: Washington Post, right wing graphic: PFAW.


  • "Brian says "Oddest irony: many so-called "progressives" don't trust Schultz, because they see his viewpoints as too moderate and inconsistent".
    For the most clear understanding of this right on target assertion, Go look at 1090 KPTK Seattle's website forum. Every post about Ed is hate, hate, hate from the so-called progressives of Seattle.

    By Blogger PeakLimiter, at 18 October, 2005 21:55  

  • Why do liberals who fail always accuse someone else of making them fail? Sometimes people just fail, and it's nobody's fault but their own.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 19 October, 2005 12:01  

  • I've listened to the Schultz show from time to time and I'm left with two impressions:1) He is dumber than dirt, and 2) he is utterly incapable of being honest.

    I don't know the size of his daily audience, but the fact that he even has a show is an indication of the cluelessness of the left...that, or it's deperation.

    By Blogger Crapdog, at 19 October, 2005 18:46  

  • I happened to catch Schultz for the first time a month or so ago. He was talking about having been in DC at the "bring them home now" rally, and noted that the counter demonstrators were big meanies, and he hadn't seen anything hateful until he came across them.

    I suppose he thinks that 20,000 of his friends wearing "Fuck Bush" slogans are extending an amourous invitation.

    By Blogger Pablo, at 23 October, 2005 08:16  

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