When I arrived in Germany, the American Forces Network news programming had me puzzled. I wrote a few letters to AFN, got a few "company" responses, but it wasn’t until I read "Programming questions flood AFN call session," (article, Oct. 26), on Larry Sichter, the AFN relations chief, and Jef Reilly, the AFN Radio director, that it all became crystal clear to me.

The AFN news programming leans to the "conservative right." I understand their decision to have Rush Limbaugh on during peak hours is based on ratings in the States, but whom is AFN competing against for ratings?

AFN has the most captive audience in the world, because there is no competition for U.S. viewers here. You watch AFN, get a PAL system TV and watch German shows, or do something else with your free time. AFN has more say as to what we see or hear than it lets on.

In a wartime situation, you can’t have Limbaugh trashing the president and his policies at every turn. This man has said he wants our president to fail, plays on racial fears and says all these counterproductive things under the disguise of being a true patriotic American. These types of comments do nothing but undermine our president and fan the flames of paranoia.

Did I miss the airing of the president’s huge speech on health care reform before the two houses? I don’t remember seeing it. AFN can get "American Idol" shown here the next day, but not this historic speech. Were the ratings too low for the president’s speech to be shown? Did the AFN "powers that be" view the speech as not being important enough to air?

Someone help me, because I’m trying not to think the worst, but it just doesn’t pass the "sniff" test.

Carlos L. SaylesHeidelberg, Germany

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