On yesterday’s National Emergency Alert System test

Apparently, yesterday’s test had some… issues. I was listening to Sirius XM’s 80’s channel, and heard the tones and about 5-10 seconds of voice, then a few seconds of silence before the music started up again. I believe that’s called “failure”.

But Roberta X comforts us with this reminder.

You might take some comfort that on 11 September 2001, when a national-level emergency did take place, the news was disseminated rapidly. Not by the government but by the various companies that run for-profit networks all day, every day: ABC/CBS/NBC/Fox/CNN etc. all jumped on the story as it happened — and even pushed their scheduled commercials aside to do it. There wasn’t any question of the message making it to you; it had been reaching you 24/7/365 to hawk soap flakes and cornflakes already and when the stakes suddenly got much higher, it was already in place, working.

The free market succeeded in a real emergency where the government had failed to even test the system it had in place. If a true national emergency happens, you will hear about it – probably well before any national-level EAS alert is sent.


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