For the first time since the AM For Every Vehicle Act was introduced to Congress last week, Senator Ted Cruz spoke about his co-sponsorship of the campaign to save AM on his Verdict podcast. Senator Cruz discussed why AM is such a crucial part of American politics, and gave listeners an inside look at how his unlikely partnership with Senator Ed Markey came to be.
“Well, I got to say, number one, for Ed Markey and me to introduce a bill together in the world of Washington is a pretty shocking thing because, look, Markey and I agree on very, very little,” said Sen. Cruz. “And the most conservative member of the Senate, along with one of the, if not the most liberal member of the Senate, joining together, I think that kind of freaked a lot of observers out in Washington.”
He continued, saying, “I don’t know what his motivation was, but look, for many Democrats, they are in favor of all sorts of mandates, and so they’re often willing to mandate that a manufacturer provide all sorts of things. As a general matter, I’m pretty skeptical of mandates. And so on many things we don’t see eye to eye, but in this instance, the emergency response factor persuaded me, and the viewpoint discrimination targeting talk radio, in particular, that moved me significantly. I don’t want to see important voices in free speech silenced, and I think pulling AM radio out of automobiles would have done that. And so I agreed to sign on and the two of us rolled it out together.”
While acknowledging AM’s disappearance as a threat to emergency communication during natural disasters or emergencies, Senator Cruz pointed out that there might be a broader reason behind the inclination to remove AM radios from cars. AM radio is predominantly associated with talk radio, which tends to skew conservative.
The senator suggested that some car companies may have been open to removing AM radios due to their discomfort with overwhelmingly conservative talk radio programming. This, in turn, would limit the reach of conservative voices and skew news consumption toward left-leaning sources like CNN or MSNBC, according to the Senator.
Senator Cruz also acknowledged the early win of Ford Motor Company’s decision to re-add AM radio to its automobiles going forward: “We have a lot to celebrate. Ford is a huge seller of cars. So congratulations to Ford on doing the right thing. Your customers appreciate it and I think it’ll be rewarded in the marketplace.”
Overall, the collaboration between Senator Cruz and Senator Markey, along with the subsequent commitment from Ford Motor Company, marks a significant victory in preserving AM radio in cars. The decision is seen as a win for emergency communication, talk radio, and the preservation of historical and cultural significance tied to AM radio.