What a Waste of Time!

On Wednesday, November 9, at 2pm Eastern, our government is going to interrupt all television, radio, satellite services, cable, etc., for three minutes for the first-ever test of the "improved" Emergency Alert System (EAS).

Of course, we have had the annoying "local" tests forever.

EAS has never been used, not even on September 11.  The theory seems to be that, if something bigger than September 11 occurred, the networks will not give the President access to the airwaves, so he needs to be able to access them himself.

I cannot imagine a situation where CNN, Fox, NBC, etc., would not give up air time if the President said there was an emergency. From where I sit, this is another government intrusion into our lives and another way for bureaucrats to spend money.


  1. If I detested the American Constitution and I were a dictator and I wanted to bring the peasants under my control, how would I do it? Lets see...


    God save us and protect us.

  2. Calm down. EAS is not just for emergency presidential announcements. While indeed it has not happened that such an activation on national level has occurred before(discounting the national EBS mess-up in 1971, where an EAN went erroneusly out), local activations have happened more than you might think... for example the last time a National Weather Service popped out a weather alert for your area. See all the event codes at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/eas_codes.shtml
    Whenever you hear that digital brrp! brrp! brrp! on the weather radio - that IS the EAS.

    Also there would be no doubt major networks would be carrying presidential announcements. But what about these cheapo cable channels that won't even have a news operation and wouldn't be able to simulcast other channels too. And you also assume the networks won't be rendered incapacitated during such an emergency.

    I know it is popular even in the free world to see government as a boogeyman but please, this is overreaction at best. Always expect the unexpected and better hope it won't be needed to be used in real life.

  3. Local television does an excellent job with tornado and other weather warnings. Scientific surveys show the vast majority of the population gets their warnings from TV and likes it that way.,

    We don't need EAS for warnings. The same scientific surveys consistently show that <5% of the population get their warnings from NOAA Weather Radio.

    That said, the topic of my post is the national EAS. With regard to non-weather emergencies, if the "networks are rendered incapacitated during such an emergency" how is the President's message going to get out? There is no "hardening" of the networks in the new system. I might support that.

    I'll say it again: If Sept. 11 wasn't a big enough emergency to warrant an EAS activation the idea that the President cannot get access during a BIGGER emergency (than 9/11) is absurd. EAS is a solution in search of a problem.

    Instead of spending time and money on this nonsense, how about dealing with real threats such as EMP? We are one major solar eruption from the 19th century (only without 19th century infrastructure).

    I write about EAS, TSA, global warming, etc. because of U.S. society's tendency to over inflate small threats while ignoring much larger ones.


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