Ever watched television or listened to radio and, just as the critical point in the program or a favorite musical passage comes on, it is interrupted by the annoying tones of the F.C.C. and Department of Homeland Security's "Emergency Alert System" (EAS)?
When I was a child in the 1950's, there was a system called CONELRAD that was to alert us in case of nuclear attack. And, perhaps in the 1950's, it made sense to have that system. But today? CONELRAD has morphed into a giant white elephant called EAS.
The EAS says it is designed to allow the President access to the airwaves within ten minutes in case of emergency. Fine. But, why do we need EAS? Can't the President just call up the networks?
Think back to September 11, 2001. President Bush was in Florida. As the airplanes struck, all of the networks began covering the story without any help from the President or government. They did it because it was news. No EAS notification was made. Cuban Missile Crisis? No. Oklahoma City bombing? Nope! Assassination attempt on President Reagan? Nada.
The EAS system has never been used.
Lets ask a practical question: Since we got through the Cuban Missile Crisis and September 11 with the regular news media covering the stories, do you believe the media will fail to cover a bigger crisis? Of course they will! And, just like President Bush addressed the nation from a remote location on September 11 via the regular media, he will be able to do so in a future crisis.
So, why do we need the EAS tests, infrastructure, and people to run it?
Answer: We don't.
EAS is a perfect example of a government program whose time, if it had ever come, has passed. It is time to get rid of EAS and those annoying weekly tests.