Does Rush Limbaugh belong on armed forces radio? Criticism mounts.
The Armed Forces Network broadcasts the 'Rush Limbaugh Show.' But Limbaugh's 'slut' comment only reinforces negative military stereotypes about women, leading some veterans to start a petition against the show.
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The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin (D) of Michigan, on Wednesday said he would like to see AFN drop Limbaugh’s show, but that he would not seek legislation to do so. “I would hope that the people that run [AFN] see just how offensive this is,” Senator Levin told CNN.Skip to next paragraph
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The decision by AFN to air Limbaugh’s show was controversial when it was made back in 1993. At the time, a group of more than 70 lawmakers complained to then-Defense Secretary Les Aspin about the network’s failure to carry the show. Mr. Aspin in turn supported its broadcast, and the decision was made to air it.
Another call to drop Limbaugh’s program from AFN was made in 2004, after the conservative talk radio host compared the treatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib to a “Skull & Bones” initiation, referring to the Yale University secret society.
“I’m talking about people having a good time,” Limbaugh said in May of that year of US soldiers, who were later prosecuted for misconduct under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. “These people – you ever of emotional release? You ever hear of needing to blow some steam off?”
He added in a later show, “We need some prison torture, you know, bubble gum cards.”
For now, Pentagon officials say they have no plans to drop the show. “Our goal is to provide a wide array of programming for service members overseas that would be available to them stateside,” says Pentagon spokesman George Little. “Airing programming on the American Forces Network does not constitute endorsement of what is said or shown.”
That said, Mr. Little adds, “We always take seriously the feedback of our service members.”
In Afghanistan, Limbaugh’s comments have been a frequent topic of conversation among some troops. While many troops, both male and female, find the comments disrespectful to the female soldiers with whom they serve, Limbaugh does not have much of a following overseas, says one American soldier in deployed to Afghanistan, who was not authorized to speak about Limbaugh.
“No one in the Army listens to [him] anyway,” he adds. “AFN carries him for the retired white 65 to 90 crowd.”
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