Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Broadcast ideas, not music

Robert Reilly opines in today’s WaPo that that broadcasting substance is more important than broadcasting music; and Reilly knows something about both having been the former director of Voice of America as well as a music critic! He thinks we should focus on the war of ideas rather than promote MTV. I agree.   

Discussions - 14 Comments

Peter, thanks for this. One is left speechless. This is an appalling story.

Presidential hopeful John Edwards obviously, as evidenced by his paid blogging staff, disagrees with Schramm and Reilly "ideas" approach. I think Edwards understands that ya got get down in the mud with the MTV crowd if ya wanna get their vote. It’s something Billy ’briefs" Clinton taught him.

Via Powerline.

Oops, I shoulda put a WARNING: XXX Langauge on that Edwards link I posted. Sorry.

Peter, that is just hair-tearingly upsetting. Why do we DO things like that? "...bad policy and bad public diplomacy." Indeed. How incredibly counter-productive to our national interests in the area. Forget mis-spending money in Iraq, mis-spending America’s image and ideals carries a much higher cost. Can we have Congressional hearings on Ken Tomlinson’s malfeasance?

...too late - with a Democrat house and Senate the programming would switch from bad pop music to race, class, gender, and how evil America is.

"This is Diane Rehm, here today with a transgendered suicide bomber of color. Let me ask you first, what part of your identity is strongest, Hizbollah member or person of mis-assigned gender?"

"Well Diane, Death to America, race, class, ...as a suicide bomber with gender issues I believe... blah blah, race, poverty, class, gender, gender, pottery, bodies, Foucault, blah, blah, blah, blah, Bush is a moron."

That’ll really impress Al Quaeda sympathizers... (or People of Principled Self-Detonation, as they will be called in an attempt not to offend)

wm - that’s funny the way Rush, on a good day, can be pretty funny. Not to the point, not helpful, but funny.

... so you’ve never listened to NPR, then?

wm, that IS funny, and no, I can’t listen to Diane Rehm on most days. There are many days when I can’t listen to Rush, either.


But, Ken Tomlinson is a Bush appointee, so presumably the Democrats in Congress would find him fair game.

Didn’t we once play rock music to force the end of the the siege of Manuel Noriega? How did we get here from there? I suppose no one HAS to listen to Radio Sawa or Radio Farda, and I am sure it is not much played except as an example as to why no one ought to listen to anything from the US at all. "Oh, horrible, horrible, most horrible" just skims the thing.

Ken Tomlinson -- Brittney Spears is the sound of freedom. Priceless.

For this we have a Republican president?

If Spears is not the "sound of freedom" I certainly don’t know what is. What? Should she be banned, in favor of a few eipsodes of listening to Dicky Durbin on the Senate floor? I dare say, any GI over there would rather spend an afternoon with Ms. Spears than one moment with, say, Hillary Rodam or Teddy Kennedy. Hey, here’s to Ken Tomlinson, we need more of folks just like him in the perverted land of Washington D.C.!

Publius Jr., this is not about Armed Forces Radio, and what the Marines or the Army or even the contractors listen listen to on the radio. This is speaking to the Muslim world.


I have probably heard a Britney Spears song, because pop music plays everywhere these days, but I do not KNOW that I ever have. I know her only from seeing the covers of the magazines on the racks in the grocery check-out lines. If she represents American freedom, and is the "sound of freedom" then I’ll confess, it is not a sound I know as you do. I’d prefer it if those politicians you mention were on the radio, because at least that is free speech and not licentiousness.


"This change in format provoked other angry questions: Are Americans playing music because they are afraid to tell the truth? Do they not have a truth to tell? Or do they not consider us worth telling the truth to?"


That is what is horrible. If America has lost its voice for ideas and we come down to MTV as the ultimate expression of liberty - well - we just have given up. I blush for us.

"That is what is horrible. If America has lost its voice for ideas and we come down to MTV as the ultimate expression of liberty - well - we just have given up. I blush for us."

Good question, and one that, before the great baby boomer explosion of the sixties, would never even have been asked... but isn’t that just the real point? America is no longer the post-WWII heroic democracy we once were, but rather a democracy at liberty. And from my vantage point we seem to be enjoying our freedom very much.

I know, wherein lies our responsibility is the great question of the hour? How about higher taxes, eh? What about rebuilding that great institution we baby boomer utterly destroyed, called the military draft, huh? Oh, and how about national "loyalty oaths," and government sponsored Hollywood propaganda, too?

I dunno, perhaps there’ll come a time for all that, once again. But for now, I gotta hunch that far more Iraqis long for a Big Mac and fries to go with a cheesy Britney tune than wish for a loud speaker spouting freedom’s marching orders for the day. Or, at least, I hope so anyway.

Publius, Jr. - I recommend that you read or reread Paul Berman’s Terror and Liberalism. (No, not THAT liberalism.) It will tell you something about the ideas, offshoots of both Islam and modernity itself, that hold the West in such murderous contempt. Ideas should be met with better ideas, which is exactly what the Islamists fear most, according to Berman (and others).

Thanks, Steve.


Publius, Jr., I think your Big Macs, fries and cheesy music have gone to your head.


If the Iraqis want what you say they want, why are we still having such a nasty fight over there? They are free to choose all of that stuff, and MacDonald’s would gladly open on every tenth corner in Baghdad. If they wanted the whole that America’s entertainment industry has to offer, what’s to stop them? Not the US government. But the question is why the American taxpayer would want to import MTV as the national expression of liberal thought. "We’re fighting for your freedom to watch MTV." if true, is no reason for American soldiers to die. If our radio propaganda organs are spreading that as truth, it makes me sick.

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