Call me a cancel culture warrior, but when it comes to Armed Forces Network broadcasting right-wing propaganda to American troops stationed overseas, or the constant airing of Fox News on common area TVs on military bases and posts here at home, I want that shit stopped.
Between 2009 and 2011, I was active in my opposition, writing letters to local base commanders, my representatives in Congress, service chiefs, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. At the time, as a civilian contractor training USAF fighter pilots at home and overseas, I knew first-hand that the military allowed its radio network to broadcast the Rush Limbaugh show to American troops in Korea. Every time I visited Air Force bases here at home, I’d see Fox News playing on common area TVs in waiting rooms and lobbies.
During President Obama’s years in office, conservative pundits and right-wing media railed against anything and everything he did. Limbaugh, and Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity, went even further, openly fomenting disrespect and opposition to President Obama. The president, of course, is the military’s commander in chief. I was confident that when I pointed out to senior leaders how Limbaugh and Fox News were undermining respect for and obedience to the commander in chief by American soldiers, airmen, and sailors, they’d act promptly to stop it.
They did not. Not even when Gabby Giffords, then my representative, initiated a congressional inquiry on my behalf, asking military leadership to stop the airing of politically partisan shows and commentary to American troops.
Mine wasn’t the only voice in the wilderness then, and it’s not the only voice now. Now that another Democrat’s in the White House, with right wing radio and TV again working 24/7 to undermine him, others are speaking out. Take a look at this tweet, one of many to call out the airing of racist and right-wing propaganda to American troops in the wake of the January 6th Capitol riot:
Right wing propaganda and racist commentary on military radio and television networks overseas is a well-known issue, steadfastly ignored by military leadership. Less known is the widespread airing of partisan “news” and commentary on common area TVs on military bases and posts at home. I’m glad to see more people becoming aware of this and speaking out against it, as with this influential retired military officer reacting to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who yesterday said women in the ranks, particularly women who dare to get pregnant, make a mockery of military service:
Maybe something will come of the increasingly loud outcry and the Joint Chiefs will finally act. There may not be that many Limbaugh and Fox News haters in the ranks, but there are a lot of women (and men who support them). But maybe not. After all, military leaders did nothing to stop Rush Limbaugh sowing disrespect and hatred toward President Obama, their own commander in chief, and from all I can tell they have yet to give much more than lip service to stopping misogyny and sexual assault in the ranks.
Well, maybe the new commander in chief will get involved. President Biden says he’s going to lead a full-court press against sexual assault in the military. Combatting white supremacy and militia recruiting in the ranks, something the airing of partisan content on military radio and television networks aids and abets, would go hand-in-hand with action on sexual assault. I’d welcome it.
One year ago today, the World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Also one year ago today, I wrote about COVID for the first time. Thank you, yes, I was right on top of it. You can buy me a drink when it’s all over (or right now, through the Ko-Fi link on the right sidebar).