CNN: Defense Department defended its Limbaugh broadcasts

››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

During a report by CNN correspondent Tom Foreman on the June 2 edition of Wolf Blitzer Reports, Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for Internal Communications Allison Barber defended continued broadcasts of The Rush Limbaugh Show by the American Forces Radio and Television Service, stating that AFRTS programming "is based on popularity here in the states." (Part of the Defense Department, AFRTS broadcasts to U.S. service members in 177 countries and U.S. territories around the world, including Iraq.) When asked why Howard Stern's similarly popular radio talk show is not aired, Barber responded (apparently contrasting Stern's program with Limbaugh's) as follows: "Well, his [Stern's] issue is one of content that's not appropriate."

From the June 2 edition of Wolf Blitzer Reports:

VOICEOVER: There is no direct liberal talk show counterpart to Limbaugh, but, they [the Defense Department] point out, no liberal broadcaster has built such a huge audience at home.

BARBER: It's not about conservative or liberal, it's about the full selection of radio programming which is based on popularity here in the states.

VOICEOVER: Still, Howard Stern has millions of fans, and his show is not sent to the troops.

BARBER: Well, his [Stern's] issue is one of content that's not appropriate.

As Media Matters for America has documented, the "content" of Limbaugh's comments regarding the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal has come into question in recent weeks. One day after comparing photos of the abuse to "anything you'd see Madonna, or Britney Spears do on stage," Limbaugh compared the prisoner abuse to a college fraternity prank on May 4, stating that the U.S. guards involved were just "having a good time" and "blow[ing] some steam off." On May 6, Limbaugh remarked of the scandal, "Maybe the people who executed this pulled off a brilliant maneuver."

Limbaugh has continued to discuss the prisoner abuse scandal during The Rush Limbaugh Show in recent weeks. On May 13 he said, of the prisoner abuse photos, that Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) could have Representatives "Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi act them out for him"; Limbaugh also suggested on May 18 that -- if it would help "to get a Liberal in the White House" -- financier, philanthropist, and political activist George Soros might create "a torture institute at the new torture university to teach people [like President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld] how it's really done." On May 27, Limbaugh responded to a report that women have been recently appointed as police chiefs in four major U.S. cities by stating, "I guess we can watch out for some naked pyramids among prisoners in these new jailhouses ... because we had a woman running" Abu Ghraib; on May 26, he referred to military officers as "orificers."

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