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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Coming War on China
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
Russell Mokhiber
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Roger Harris
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism
Steve Horn
Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers
Ralph Nader
Trump and His Betraying Makeover
Louis Proyect
Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers
Stephen Kimber
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Dan Bacher
WSPA: The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Nile Bowie
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ron Ridenour
Fidel’s Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
Missy Comley Beattie
By Invitation Only
Fred Gardner
Sword of Damocles: Pot Partisans Fear Trump’s DOJ
Renee Parsons
Obama and Propornot
Dean Baker
Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
Jack Rasmus
Taming Trump: From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Ron Jacobs
Selling Racism—A Lesson From Pretoria
Julian Vigo
The Hijos of Buenos Aires:  When Identity is Political
Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano
By Way of Prologue: On How We Arrived at the Watchtower and What We Saw from There
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix the ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
Aidan O'Brien
Fidel and Spain: A Tale of Right and Wrong
Carol Dansereau
Stop Groveling! How to Thwart Trump and Save the World
Kim Nicolini
Moonlight, The Movie
Evan Jones
Behind GE’s Takeover of Alstom Energy
James A Haught
White Evangelicals are Fading, Powerful, Baffling
Barbara Moroncini
Protests and Their Others
Joseph Natoli
The Winds at Their Backs
Cesar Chelala
Poverty is Not Only an Ignored Word
David Swanson
75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies
Alex Jensen
The Great Deceleration
Nyla Ali Khan
When Faith is the Legacy of One’s Upbringing
Gilbert Mercier
Trump Win: Paradigm Shift or Status Quo?
Stephen Martin
From ‘Too Big to Fail’ to ‘Too Big to Lie’: the End Game of Corporatist Globalization.
Charles R. Larson
Review: Emma Jane Kirby’s “The Optician of Lampedusa”
David Yearsley
Haydn Seek With Hsu
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail