If your email inbox is full of frantic pitches for money today from politicians approaching the quarterly FEC filing deadline, consider Harold Camping. He’s found an even more compelling deadline. The rapture, followed by the end of the world.
Camping’s “Family Radio” network owns at least 50 radio stations, many of them commercial outlets with considerable ability to serve the public, backed up with at least a hundred smaller “translator” stations. He’s using those stations to claim that the rapture is scheduled for May 21, 2011, with the end of the world to follow later that year on October 21. Perhaps Camping is right this time (I say “this time” because he tried this once before, predicting a world’s end in September, 1994.)
Our country licenses broadcast stations to folks who will operate them in the public interest, convenience and necessity. While we’ve never found an ironclad definition for that, the repeated prediction of an end of the world that scares the hell out of people and then doesn’t materialize doesn’t fit the definition.
So I respectfully suggest that on May 22, 2011, providing that the devout Christians haven’t been called heavenward leaving us ground-dwelling heathens scratching our heads, the Federal Communications Commission start accepting license applications for Family Radio’s frequencies. On October 22nd, the FCC reassigns them to people who will operate local stations in the local markets and not import a pack of lies via satellite.
If Camping is right, he won’t be needing his stations. If Camping is wrong again, I don’t think we’ll be needing him broadcasting on them.