Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free by Arch Puddington

By Arch Puddington

“A ground-breaking background of RFE-RL that's either erudite and a satisfaction to learn. . . . may also help rescue the radios from the ‘memory gap’ to which their detractors try to consign them.”—American Spectator “Useful to someone drawn to the trivialities of yankee overseas coverage in jap Europe after global warfare II.”—Washington submit booklet global “A advantageous telling of a bit identified U.S. venture that avoided the evil empire from workout a monopoly on information and opinion.”—First issues “No one degree gained the chilly War—but Radio loose Europe and Radio Liberty might be within the first rank of these getting the top medals. Puddington tells the tale with sort and grace.”—R. James Woolsey

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Since both RFE and RL required heavy spending for transmitters during the fifties, the debates over just where the stations fit in among CIA priorities often became quite heated. ” He added,“There was an obvious case to be made for breaking the radios out of the agency and providing for open funding by Congress. However, neither the executive branch nor the congressional committees were willing to consider this alternative until events finally forced a decision. ”7 During their formative years the radios had an indispensable asset in the person of CIA director Allen Dulles.

Nor did RFE impose rigid standards of political correctness on its employees. Often during its history, RFE would be accused of an overzealous and inflammatory broadcast tone. But in its very early years, the station was more responsible than America’s political leaders, a major reason for its credibility with its East European audience. The FEC’s initial radio plans were modest. Exiled leaders were placed before a microphone and given free rein to speak to their countrymen. ”27 By the fall of 1949 an FEC committee had begun organizing the various components of what would become Radio Free Europe.

Deceit, distortion and lies are systematically used by them as a matter of deliberate policy. . Communist propaganda is so false, so crude, so blatant that we wonder how men can be swayed by it. We forget that most of the people to whom it is directed do not have free access to accurate information. . In many parts of the world . . where men must choose between freedom and Communism, the true story is going untold. We cannot run the risk that nations may be lost to the cause of freedom because their people do not know the facts.

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