This Week on CounterPunch Radio
One of the most hyped “events” of American television, The Vietnam War, has started on the PBS network. The directors are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Acclaimed for his documentaries on the Civil War, the Great Depression and the history of jazz, Burns says of his Vietnam films, “They will inspire our country to begin to talk and think about the Vietnam war in an entirely new way”.
In a society often bereft of historical memory and in thrall to the propaganda of its “exceptionalism”, Burns’ “entirely new” Vietnam war is presented as “epic, historic work”. Its lavish advertising campaign promotes its biggest backer, Bank of America, which in 1971 was burned down by students in Santa Barbara, California, as a symbol of the hated war in Vietnam. More
With the rise in public visibility of far-right-wing militants in the U.S. following the events in Charlottesville, much of the public is scrambling to understand just what this movement is and what forces are driving it. With much of the public discussing strategies for how best to fight right-wing extremism, the need for constructive solutions is greater than ever.
First and foremost, it’s important to point out that public support for far-right extremists is miniscule. The vast majority of Americans reject this movement’s violence and hatred. According to a Marist survey from the summer of 2017, just 4 percent of Americans said they support “white supremacy movement” or “white nationalism.” Similarly, just 6 percent embraced the term “alt-right.” Still, there is a legitimate concern that support for right-wing bigotry may grow in the future if left unchecked. More
How Ken Burns and Lynn Novick became the semi-official film documentarians of United States history is an interesting question. Part of the answer lay in the way they manage to whitewash the criminal record of U.S. imperialism. One example of this came in their 2007 “Public” Broadcasting System (“P”BS) documentary on World War II, where they re-transmitted the myth that Harry Truman atom-bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki – killing 146,000 Japanese civilians with two weapons – to “save [U.S.] lives.” Burns and Novick ignored compelling primary source evidence and historical literature showing that top U.S. military and intelligence leaders understood that Japan was defeated and seeking surrender at the end of World War II and that the atom bomb crimes were perpetrated to demonstrate unassailable U.S. power to the world and especially to the Soviet Union in the post-WWII era. More
Exclusively in the New Print Issue of CounterPunch
In this issue: Paul Street dissects the decline of radical politics in the Age of Trump. The Future of NATO by Ron Jacobs; The Fires of Neoliberalism by Kenneth Surin; What’s Driving Trump’s Bashing of Mexico? by Laura Carlsen; Preaching Racism by Lawrence Ware; Afghanistan: the War That Time Forgot by Jeffrey St. Clair; Refugees and Mental Health by Daniel Raventos and Julie Wark; Let the Buybacks Begin! by Mike Whitney; The Battle of Hue Reconsidered by Michael Uhl. Plus: Yvette Carnell on Kamala Harris; Chris Floyd on the Surveillance State; and Lee Ballinger on the Problems with Philanthropy.