NBC Launches War Porn to Drum Up Support for U.S. Military Efforts
It is thoroughly documented that mainstream media like NBC are rabidly pro-war.
Tonight, NBC is launching the ultimate pro-war porn: a reality show where stars go through special forces training called “Stars Earn Stripes”. This is like Dancing With the Stars for wanna-be soldiers.
If you’ve watched the Olympics on NBC you’ve probably seen ads promoting a war-o-tainment reality show cohosted by retired U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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
9 Nobel Peace Prize Winners Call on NBC to Cancel Show
August 13, 2012
New show promotes an “inglorious tradition of glorifying war and armed violence”
(Ottawa)–Nine Nobel Peace Laureates today issued an open letter to the Chairman of NBC Entertainment, as well as General Wesley Clark and others involved in the new “reality” show premiering tonight on NBC—“Stars Earn Stripes”—calling on them to walk away from the show immediately.
In the letter, the Laureates—who include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jody Williams and President Oscar Arias Sanchez—note that “war isn’t entertainment” and challenge NBC’s promotional line that that such a television program would be “pay[ing] homage to the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and our first-line responder services.”
The Laureates say that the program pays homage to no one and is “a massive disservice to those who live and die in armed conflict and suffer its consequences long after the guns of war fall silent.”
The Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, all of whom won their prizes for their contributions to ending violence and creating more peaceful and democratic societies, note that real war is “down in the dirt deadly”, and should not be sanitized for a “reality” TV show. US Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams won her prize for helping ban antipersonnel landmines, a deadly weapon responsible hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties. Archbishop Tutu was recognized for helping bring an end to apartheid in South Africa and President Arias for his contributions to bringing peace to the war-torn Central America of the 1980s.
The Laureates wrote the letter to add their voices to the growing chorus of global citizens who are alarmed by the increased militarization of societies, and how the entertainment industry contributes in particular to desensitizing people of all ages to the realities of war. They are supporting a protest today at 5 pm outside NBC headquarters: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112.
The following Nobel Peace Laureates signed the letter: Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1984), Jody Williams (1997), Mairead Maguire (1977), Dr. Shirin Ebadi (2003), President José Ramos-Horta (1996), Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (1980), President Oscar Arias Sanchez (1987), Rigoberta Menchú Tum (1992) and Betty Williams (1977).