ACTION ALERT: NBC Invents War-o-tainment
August 1, 2012
David Swanson / War Is a Crime & StarsEarnStripes.org
If you've watched the Olympics, you've probably seen ads promoting an NBC war-o-tainment reality show co-hosted by retired US General Wesley Clark and co-starring Todd Palin. The ads brag about the use of real bullets but the chances are slight that any of the celebrities engaged in "war competition" on "Stars Earn Stripes" will be shot and killed. RootsAction.org and Just Foreign Policy want NBC to show the real cost of war, not a game-show fantasy.
Take Action: Please sign this short petition to NBC:
Your entertainment show, "Stars Earn Stripes," treats war as sport. This does us all a disservice. We ask that you air an in-depth segment showing the reality of civilian victims of recent U.S. wars, on any program, any time in the coming months.
(StarsEarnStripes.org has provided a few resources to help you with your research.)
ACTION ALERT: NBC Invents War-o-tainment
David Swanson / War Is a Crime
(July 29, 2012) -- If you've watched the Olympics on NBC you've probably seen ads promoting a war-o-tainment reality show co-hosted by retired US General Wesley Clark, co-starring Todd Palin, and with no apparent role for reality.
The ads brag about the use of real bullets in a way that promoters of the new Batman movie probably wouldn't try. But the chances that any of the celebrities engaged in "war competition" on NBC's "Stars Earn Stripes" will be shot and killed is essentially what it was for John Wayne, as he promoted war while dodging it (even if nuclear weapons testing got him in the end).
RootsAction.org and Just Foreign Policy have set up a website at StarsEarnStripes.org to push NBC to show the real cost of war, and to help get them started.
"Stars Earn Stripes" is being produced by the TV "genius" behind Donald Trump’s "Apprentice" and "Sarah Palin’s Alaska." (Husband Todd Palin is a "Stars Earn Stripes" co-star.) NBC is promoting the show during its Summer Olympics telecast as the next big sporting event. But the sport it's exhibiting is war.
On "Stars Earn Stripes," celebrities will pair-up with members of the US military to compete at war-like tasks, including "long-range weapons fire." Only there won't be any of the killing or dying.
Our wars kill huge numbers of people, primarily civilians, and often children and the elderly. NBC is not showing this reality on its war-o-tainment show any more than on its news programs. Other nations' media show the face of war, giving people a very different view of war-making.
NBC news programs have repeatedly used retired generals, pretending independence but getting their pro-war talking points from the Pentagon. (See New York Times: Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand and Glenn Greenwald: The Pulizer-Winning Investigation That Dare Not Be Uttered on TV.)
In the United States, our tax dollars are spent by the billions each year marketing the idea that war is a sport and associating the military with sporting events. Media companies like NBC are complicit in the propaganda. While 57% of federal discretionary spending goes to the military, weapons makers can't seem to get enough of our tax dollars.
In the spirit of transferring veterans' care to the realm of private charity, "Stars Earn Stripes" will give prize money each week to "military-based charities" in order to "send a message."
One of NBC’s corporate parents, General Electric, takes war very seriously, but not as human tragedy -- rather, as financial profit. (GE is a big weapons manufacturer.) A retired general hosting a war-o-tainment show is another step in the normalization of permanent war. And consider for a moment who that retired general is.
During the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia commanded by Gen. Wesley Clark, civilians and a TV station were bombed, while cluster bombs and depleted uranium were used. Had Clark done these things for another nation, NBC would probably favor his prosecution and certainly not employ him. See Democracy Now! Confronts Wesley Clark Over His Bombing Of Civilians.
StarsEarnStripes.org is asking NBC to stop treating war as a sport, and to air an in-depth segment showing the reality of civilian victims of recent US wars, on any program, any time in the coming months. We've provided some resources to help NBC research and show the reality of war, at http://StarsEarnStripes.org
David Swanson's books include "War Is A Lie." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.
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