Sinclair Broadcasting Group, one of the largest owners of local television stations, will pre-empt tonight’s ABC News program "Nightline" in 8 cities: St. Louis; Columbus, Ohio; Greenville, S.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; Charleston, W.Va.; Mobile, Ala.; Pensacola, Fla.; and Springfield, Mass.; and Sinclair-operated WTXL-TV in Tallahassee, Fla. This network is even more conservative than Clear Channel – In 2004, 98 percent of Sinclair’s political contributions have gone to GOP candidates.
Why won’t they show Nightline? Ted Koppel will read aloud the names of every soldier killed by hostile fire in Iraq, showing the dead soldiers’ photo. You would think this memorial would evoke respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
It has aroused controversy on both sides. Nightline won’t be aired across Sinclair-operated stations because they feel the memorializing of the dead is an unpatriotic anti-war statement. Anti-war activists aren’t very comfortable either – they would like to see the same treatment for the Iraqi dead, not just the American dead (now THAT would be a long show!).
Koppel rarely criticizes US policy even when he disagrees with it – he’s probably one of the best we’ve got – which is why ultra-conservatives are so hopping mad. He has credibility. Sinclair is right, of course, about Koppel’s stance – but that’s not a reason to censor it off the air. Koppel’s reading of the names of the war dead comes on the eve of the anniversary of President Bush’s appearance on US aircraft carrier under a carefully placed banner announcing "Mission Accomplished." The program also will be aired on the anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, April 30, l975, when the city of Saigon fell to North Vietnamese and NLF forces – maybe then my students won’t believe that we WON that conflict?
In any case, isn’t it about time that we showed some respect to the American soldier? For all the ballyhoo about supporting them, are their jobs there when they return? What kind of respect are other veterans getting? In the last five years of my father’s life, he couldn’t even get the VA to acknowledge him AS a veteran, much less get any of the benefits he deserved. These poor guys go over there for a President that dared our enemies to "bring it on," but when our soldiers die – we must not see or acknowledge or memoralize their deaths.
We must not even admit that the war is not over.
We must not admit that our children and grandchildren will be paying for it.
We must not admit that the soldiers aren’t the only ones to make sacrifice.
We must not admit that we weren’t prepared, that we don’t understand the culture, that we aren’t succeeding in the propaganda war. Our memes and thought contagions just don’t seem to be very self-propagating.
Yesterday I heard a radio announcer describe a Sports Illustrated journalist as a liberal pansy pinko anti-American. I never thought this could happen again. And where is the spine of the American left? Why are you all so silent?
Last weekend was the Women’s March on Washington. On network news, across several stations, I only saw a brief comment by the director of NARAL, a snippet of Hillary Clinton urging people to vote, one shot of the crowd, and several comments by anti-abortion counter-protestors. Issues of choice and abortion were certainly at the top of the agenda list, but that’s not all there was! The coverage of this amazing event was sickeningly minimal. I was so angry that I actually understood the expression "hopping mad" from the inside. I was hopping! HOPPING!
So it’s as if it never happened. Please, someone, publish the transcripts. I want to know what the speakers said!
I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, in a group that doesn’t fight, doesn’t vote, doesn’t salute the flag (false idol), doesn’t celebrate Christmas or (like the new conservatives) Halloween. They thought Dungeons and Dragons was demonic long before the hysteria surrounding things like the Columbine attacks and Harry Potter. I was completely out of touch with politics (and the social scene in general) when I was growing up – I remained apolitical even through my undergraduate and master’s degrees. It has only been in the last decade that I even took an interest in these sorts of things – other than a few so-called women’s issues. WOMEN’s issues?
You know, there is a feminist argument against abortion. It’s to the man’s advantage for the woman to have an abortion when he doesn’t want to marry her or even provide support. I’m not personally a big fan of abortion. It’s a really difficult and awful thing to have to think about. But it’s not for the government to legislate. Whatever the choice, it’s my choice. I have never had an abortion and I hope that I would never be in a position to have to consider it. But I have had two pregnancies, while married, that didn’t make it to term. One of them almost killed me. Suppose my two doctors in those cases no longer had the training to do a D&C, for example?
Well, I won’t get off on a rant on that, but it does really bother me that Bush is propelled by an evangelical vision of himself and this country. The "Faith-based initiatives" funding that was approved by executive order and bypassed the congress all went to protestant groups – you knew that, right? No catholics, no jews, no buddhists….
How can we be so stupid? Has all the rapid change just shut down people’s brains? Are we as susceptible as Germany was?