Remove Rush Limbaugh from American Forces Radio or add Al Franken sign now

To: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

We request that Secretary Rumsfeld either remove talk radio host Rush Limbaugh from the American Forces Radio and Television Service - or balance Mr. Limbaughs relentlessly right-wing show by adding Al Frankens program, The OFranken Factor.

Limbaugh, whose program is broadcast for one hour per day to U.S. troops overseas, has condoned and trivialized the abuse, torture, rape and possible murder of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. guards at the Abu Ghraib prison gross misconduct that you have described as fundamentally un-American.

Franken, by contrast, has and has joined this nations president in calling for full accountability for all those involved in the shameful abuses.

The American Services Network is a taxpayer-funded radio and television broadcasting agency that reaches nearly 1 million US troops in more than 175 countries, including Iraq. Because of its extensive reach, it is crucial that, if it chooses to broadcast any political matreial, the Network must broadcast a balanced mix. Limbaughs radio program maintains a consistently partisan Republican point of view. The OFranken Factor, by contrast, promotes progressive, grass-roots politics and stands directly in opposition to Limbaughs politics. Running one without the other is grossly imbalanced, and unfair to those members of the armed forces who disagree with the program distributed to them at taxpayer expense.

In addition, as Media Matters for America detailed in a May 2 report, Meet the New Rush, Same as the Old Rush, Mr. Limbaugh has recently made several racially-charged and sexist remarks on his broadcast. For example, Mr. Limbaugh said on April 26 that women who protest sexual harassment actually wish to be sexually harassed. And on March 26, Mr. Limbaugh said, A Chavez is a Chavez. These people have always been a problem. Given the extraordinary importance of troop morale and unity during this time of conflict, we ask Secretary Rumsfeld to review whether it is appropriate for the U.S. government to broadcast such messages, which may sow seeds of discord in the ranks.

At an absolute minimum, the military should consider supporting a program that makes an active effort to confront racial discrimination and sexism.

We, the undersigned, ask Secretary Rumsfeld to order the American Services Network to cease broadcasting Rush Limbaughs radio program immediately, or ensure that balance is restored to the airwaves by adding an hour of The OFranken Factor to ASN.

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Donald Rumsfeld

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