Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only shake you down once a year, but when we do we really mean it. It costs a lot to keep the site afloat, and our growing audience, well over TWO million unique viewers a month, eats up a lot of bandwidth — and bandwidth isn’t free. We aren’t supported by corporate donors, advertisers or big foundations. We survive solely on your support.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Cashing In On Patriotism

by Sarah Turner

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, Madison Avenue wasted little time devising ways to draw customers to their products. Some of these efforts have bordered on the unseemly.

United Airlines is running a commercial about a firefighter who boarded a recent flight. The advertisement says that once the crew found out there was a firefighter on board, they placed him in first class and the captain announced, “There’s a hero on board.” The commercial ends with the sentence, “People are getting back on board United.”

A Chevrolet commercial shows dramatic scenes of firefighters before a shot of a Chevy cruising down a scenic highway. The advertisement ends by flashing the patriotic words, “Keep America Moving.”

Even Lee jeans has gotten in on the action. A Lee doll is featured in a commercial with a Band-Aid on his arm and a Red Cross sticker that says, “I gave blood.”

In a radio ad, Toys-R-Us encourages parents to bring their children into the store to color a flag.

The Food Network is running promotional commercials to encourage people to cook together to relieve stress and to watch their programming. The ad states, “We’re all feeling a little overwhelmed, but we have to keep going.”

Newcastle Beer has advertising posters in bars that say, “Drink Newcastle to help the victims of Sept. 11.”

This type of ad is now a common corporate tactic. The consumer is told that part of the company’s profits will be donated to a Sept.11 relief fund. Corporations should not prey on Americans’ desire to help the victims’ families by turning the tragedy into an advertising ploy.

The New York Stock Exchange is now running commercials that end with, “Let Freedom Ring.” Its associating the civil right’s movement with the bell that ends each day’s market speculation.

These ads want us to associate patriotism with consumerism. But there is something tawdry about it all, as when fast food chains like Arby’s and McDonalds place “God Bless America” on their outdoor signs right above “99 cent Double Cheeseburger Special.”

Many of the very corporations that are showing this fake patriotism are the ones that are undermining the foundation of American democracy. In each new election cycle, corporations spend millions of dollars in campaign contributions and on lobbyists to push their pro-business agenda in Washington.

These ads demean the memory of the more than 5,000 people who lost their lives on Sept. 11. CP

Sarah Turner is a weekly opinion columnist for the Daily Cardinal, a student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an intern at the Progressive Media Project. She can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

More articles by:

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

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

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
David Swanson
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
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
James McEnteer
Eugene, Oregon and the Rising Cost of Cool
Norman Pollack
The Great Debate: Proto-Fascism vs. the Real Thing
Michael Winship
The Tracks of John Boehner’s Tears
John Steppling
Fear Level Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending?
James Russell
Beyond Debate: Interview Styles of the Rich and Famous
September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail