Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

War on America:

by Molly Secours

It’s getting more and more difficult these days for Americans to differentiate between reality and fantasy. It’s no surprise really. In the midst of successful shows like “Survivor” and “Big Brother”, the events of September 11th have taken on a surreal quality.

Watching major network war coverage can be like gawking at an eerie episode of Saturday Night Live in which cast regulars are replaced by self-possessed men in Armani suits. These political stars recite poorly memorized lines and read cue cards determined to convey a convincing and reassuring message. Unlike Saturday Night Live, there are no jokes and no punch lines. It is serious business. We are at war.

Even the editorial staff of the New York Times beat the war drum while singing the praises of George W. on Public Television several weeks ago. It seemed more like a commercial than a panel among serious journalists.

So why not a program called “War on America: the Procter and Gamble Perspective?” It is an appropriate title considering that TV executives-who are paid by advertisers–ultimately select the images of patriotism, war and terrorism which we ingest each day. In the world of high-dollar broadcasting (don’t forget General Electric owns NBC), any conflicting messages about the current war on terrorism–means that viewpoints other than the ones being sold on major networks–will not be broadcast. To many, all dissenting sentiments are considered the ultimate betrayal.

For most of us, wrapping our minds around the September 11th tragedy and attempting to reestablish some sort of normalcy in our lives is difficult. So it is even more unsettling when a news anchor glibly predicts that Halloween fashions will be “ultra patriotic” this year. One in particular giggled as she reported that the hottest sellers this season are army fatigues and helmets for the little trick or treaters. I couldn’t help wondering if her laughter was rooted in embarrassment or titillation. For just a moment, I half expected the following commercial to feature a new line of lipstick called “Afghani-red”–the lipstick of patriots.

Is this Mad TV or the news? It’s hard to tell. In the middle of massive layoffs across the country, advertisers insist that we buy, buy, buy. Most automobile commercials have at least two or three flags flowing as the screen flashes “Zero money down”. It is truly American to spend money and now, more than ever, the message is that we must be patriotic Americans. We must consume–for the good of our country.

In its own way, Hollywood has made some attempts to acknowledge the gravity of recent events. Just this week the Emmys were cancelled in Los Angeles due to security concerns and respect for those who have gone to fight in the war. When reporters quizzed publicists and stars about the awards ceremony cancellation, an alluring young woman wearing sequins smiled seductively into the camera lens. She stated that although it is important to be acknowledged for hard work, “there’s a much bigger news story out there that deserves to take center stage.” Afterward, she gazed longingly at the invisible audience, as if to say, “I’ll be here waiting for you.” Although I too was entranced by her beauty, I was forced to remind myself that the “bigger news story” she alluded to is the bombing in Afghanistan.

As Americans we have an insatiable appetite for news and drama–but only as long as it is served up in sound bites that are easily digestible. Unfortunately, many Americans swallow the six-o-clock news whole and then regurgitate major network rhetoric as if it were gospel truth. Perhaps it is comforting to have ready-made answers to combat disquieting questions behind American foreign policy.

But let’s be mindful that healthy skepticism of our leaders doesn’t make us disloyal, unpatriotic or subversive. Democracy and freedom means being able to challenge those elected to represent us without fear of reprisal. And for those who insist that now is not the time to challenge leadership, if not now, when?

If Americans are going to espouse democratic values, we have a duty to hold our public officials accountable. But we can only do that if we are well informed. Having a global perspective requires much more than reaching for the remote during the 5 0’clock news. It demands asking difficult questions and hearing voices of dissent. Isn’t it rather dangerous to rely on a medium that thrives on blurring the lines between reality and fantasy?CP

Molly Secours is a writer, activist and racial dialog facilitator in Nashville TN. She can be reached at mollmaud@earthlink.net

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 30, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Charles R. Larson
Queen Lear? Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk”
September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
Daniel Kato
Rethinking the Race over Race: What Clinton Should do Now About ‘Super-Predators’
Peter Certo
Clinton’s Awkward Stumbles on Trade
Fran Shor
Demonizing the Green Party Vote
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Road Rage to the White House
Luke O'Brien
Because We Couldn’t Have Sanders, You’ll Get Trump
Michael J. Sainato
How the Payday Loan Industry is Obstructing Reform
Robert Fantina
You Can’t Have War Without Racism
Gregory Barrett
Bad Theater at the United Nations (Starring Kerry, Power, and Obama
James A Haught
The Long, Long Journey to Female Equality
Thomas Knapp
US Military Aid: Thai-ed to Torture
Jack Smith
Must They be Enemies? Russia, Putin and the US
Gilbert Mercier
Clinton vs Trump: Lesser of Two Evils or the Devil You Know
Tom H. Hastings
Manifesting the Worst Old Norms
George Ella Lyon
This Just in From Rancho Politico
September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Robert Fisk
Cliché and Banality at the Debates: Trump and Clinton on the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
Gareth Porter
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]