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

By Arch Puddington

“A ground-breaking heritage of RFE-RL that's either erudite and a pride to learn. . . . can help you rescue the radios from the ‘memory gap’ to which their detractors are trying to consign them.”—American Spectator “Useful to an individual attracted to the trivia of yankee international coverage in japanese Europe after international struggle II.”—Washington submit publication global “A fantastic telling of a bit recognized U.S. undertaking that avoided the evil empire from exercise a monopoly on information and opinion.”—First issues “No one degree received the chilly War—but Radio loose Europe and Radio Liberty will be within the first rank of these getting the top medals. Puddington tells the tale with variety and grace.”—R. James Woolsey

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Additional resources for Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty

Example text

Although crusade literature did not claim that its fund-raising drives were the sole or even major source of the RFE budget, it did not mind if people got that impression. Within a year or two, they were disabused of that notion; the crusade, in fact, never raised more than a small fraction of the funds needed to keep RFE on the air. Equally important at the time was the organization’s role in mobilizing the support of the American people for the Cold War effort. With the crusade, American policy makers hoped to emulate the wartime volunteer program.

Because of the closed nature of Communist societies, RFE employed traditional intelligence gathering techniques to secure the material that would enable the station to air accurate, hard-hitting Crusade for Freedom • 29 commentaries on internal political affairs in the audience countries. The station monitored Communist radio broadcasts and conducted detailed analyses of the Communist press. It collected a massive amount of information on East European communism and then organized the material into a vast archive, which provided a treasure trove of information for scholars, journalists, and, for that matter, intelligence analysts.

Despite legislative efforts to insulate RFE and RL from political pressure, the radios actually suffered a much higher degree of governmental intrusion than during the bad old days of CIA administration. Congressmen and their staff began to nose around in internal radio affairs. Allegedly insensitive scripts became the subject of congressional hearings. The Office of Management and Budget, whose role had been minimal when the stations’ budget was enfolded into the general CIA budget, began to ask pointed questions about the radios’ operations and repeatedly attempted to reduce their allocations.

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