]]]]]]]]]]]     HOW I GOT EQUAL TIME ON THE RADIO     [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ 
                         Petr Beckmann                         (1984)

     "This is Father John Catoir of The Christophers to tell you about
Dr. Helen Caldicott," said the ad on KBVL, a classical-music stereo
station in Boulder, Colo. -- but these ads get distributed nationwide 
as a "public service." What a wonderful gal Helen is and how she 
founded the Physicians for Social Responsibility, "composed of doctors 
who are horrified by the possibility of nuclear warfare." [Everybody 
else is just enchanted by it.] "Determined people are shaping tomor-
row's world today and peace is the only way we're going to survive..." 
Send for a free flyer "To Be or Not to Be" [full of scare propaganda  
replete with mushroom photo and quotations by the "Center for Defense 
Information," John Kenneth Galbraith, and the like.]
     I sent a letter by certified mail: Madame Caldicott and her 
organization are both highly controversial, as you will see from the
enclosed booklet [DOCTORS AGAINST HEALTH, $2 from Golem Press, Box
1342, Boulder, CO 80306]. Give me equal time.
     No reply in two weeks. I send a stronger letter insisting on
balance in a highly controversial issue one-sidedly presented. If my
request for equal time is refused, send written reasons for your
decisions. Copy: Complaint and Compliance Division, Federal Com-
munications, 1919 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20554. [The last only for
stylishness; the FCC is, in fact, only another bunch of bungling
bureaucrats.]
     Sorry to be so late, comes the reply. However, no equal time: The
FCC's Equal Time provisions apply only to candidates for political
office. If you meant the Fairness Doctrine, which requires a balanced
presentation of controversial issues, we have studied the Christo-
phers' message and found that the only issue raised is nuclear war,
and that is not controversial -- nobody wants it.
     I study "Licensed to Serve: A Citizen's Guide to the Regulation
of the Broadcasting Media" (1981), $5 from the American Legal Founda-
tion, 1612 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20006 more carefully than before.
They are right about the Equal Time provisions applying only to poli-
tical candidates; but the Christophers' message IS, as I intend to
point out, controversial. I want (lower case) equal time.
     I write a third time. The Christophers' ad upheld Caldicott, her
organization and her teachings; all of these are controversial, as
proved 1) by the booklet I enclosed with my first letter, 2) that many
thousands of these booklets have been sold, 3) that a national organi-
zation of physicians opposing these teachings has been formed. But
nothing has been done to give an opposing viewpoint. To the contrary,
I must assume that the offending message continues to be broadcast.
[Translation: Take it off the air while you are making up your mind.]
I want equal time.
     This time, I write, I will not wait another 3 weeks. At the end
of the week, should it be necessary, I will seek speedy redress by all
means available to me. However, I do not insist that the reply must be
made by myself. I will be perfectly satisfied if it is made by an
opposing organization of physicians (Doctors for Disaster Prepared-
ness, Box 3482, Fairfax, VA 22038) or catholics (Mindszenty Founda-
tion, Box 11321, St. Louis, MO 63105).
     On Friday, the telephone rings. I am invited for a talk with the
station manager.
        They have taken the ad off the air, he says when I go to see
him. [Good! But not good enough.] Would I agree to put the decision up
to the FCC? Most certainly not. I want equal time now, not months of
waiting before Washington bureaucrats start waffling; and by "speedy
redress by all means available to me" I don't mean tame stuff like
petitioning the FCC for denial of license renewal in 3 years.
            What then do I mean? I mean squeezing where it hurts:
going after your advertisers (I make the strong point gently -- no use
hardening the man's position). That would put me on very thin legal
ground, he warns. Maybe so; but that's what I will do. I want equal
time. [I do not think the legal ground would be that thin -- I would
not ask them to boycott the station, just make the material available
and ask them to reconsider, but report on the result.] He will put it
up to the Station Council right after Memorial Day and let me know by
tele-phone. Also, if they do give me equal time, it won't be because
of what I said about contacting the advertisers. He rings as promised:
I get equal time. One minute, to be broadcast three times the week
after I supply the tape. But here is the rub, and that's what this
Operations Room is for: When you hear that message by the Christophers
anywhere in Ame-rica, you can do what I did, and then just give them
my ready tape. It's yours for $2 to cover the tape, duplication and
postage. Here is the text: "This is Petr Beckmann, Professor Emeritus
at the University of Colorado. I'm disturbed by a recent message
broadcast by this station, which upheld Dr Caldicott and her
organization of physicians. They claim that under the threat of
nuclear war the US must disarm and seek peace at virtually any cost.
That's the policy of appeasement which brought on World War II, and I
believe this attitude both technically and morally wrong. It is wrong
TECHNICALLY because if nuclear war were really the end of life, there
would be nothing to fear, for nobody would start one. And it is wrong
MORALLY, because each of us has exactly one life to lose, and it does
not matter whether you lose it to a speer or to a nuclear bomb. Your
ancestors risked, and often lost, that one life for your freedom, and
you have no right to squan-der away your heritage. For more on this,
send for "The Sober Facts About Nuclear War" from Box 2298, Boulder,
Colorado; that's Box 2298, Boulder, Colorado. Thank you." "The sober
facts...," incidentally, may be inspected on the 1st floor of the
ar Room, and downloaded by screen capture or buffer saving.

                      HAPPY BROADCASTING!

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