The country is so engulfed in politics that all rational thought and reason have come to a standstill. The latest scandal: the huge Sinclair Broadcast Group, which delivers TV programs to 24 percent of America’s homes, has declared it will not air ABC’s Nightline this evening, when Ted Koppel will read the names of the US soldiers killed thus far in our piece-of-cake war in Iraq. Sinclair says naming the soldiers’ names is “disrespectful” and politically motivated.
Sinclair is deeply in the sack with Shrub. Not only is it a heavy campaign donor, but it has broken all the rules of journalism, demanding that reporters not criticize Bush and refusing to run political ads they see as overly critical. Get all the sordid details here. (Update: You can call Sinclair Broadcast Group at 410-568-1500 to let them know how you feel.)
This comment from a reader over at BuzzFlash says it all:
To the White House and Its Mainstream Propaganda PR Megaphone and Major GOP Contributor, Sinclair Broadcasting:
If it’s disrespectful to name all those servicemen who have been killed in action, what in the world are we going to do with the Vietnam Memorial?
And take a guess who wrote the following letter to Sinclair’s CEO:
I write to strongly protest your decision to instruct Sinclair’s ABC affiliates to preempt this evening’s Nightline program. I find deeply offensive Sinclair’s objection to Nightline’s intention to broadcast the names and photographs of Americans who gave their lives in service to our country in Iraq.
I supported the President’s decision to go to war in Iraq, and remain a strong supporter of that decision. But every American has a responsibility to understand fully the terrible costs of war and the extraordinary sacrifices it requires of those brave men and women who volunteer to defend the rest of us; lest we ever forget or grow insensitive to how grave a decision it is for our government to order Americans into combat. It is a solemn responsibility of elected officials to accept responsibility for our decision and its consequences, and, with those who disseminate the news, to ensure that Americans are fully informed of those consequences.
There is no valid reason for Sinclair to shirk its responsibility in what I assume is a very misguided attempt to prevent your viewers from completely appreciating the extraordinary sacrifices made on their behalf by Americans serving in Iraq. War is an awful, but sometimes necessary business. Your decision to deny your viewers an opportunity to be reminded of war’s terrible costs, in all their heartbreaking detail, is a gross disservice to the public, and to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. It is, in short, sir, unpatriotic. I hope it meets with the public opprobrium it most certainly deserves.
John Kerry? A lefty columnist at the NY Times? Wrong. It’s from Senator John McCain, one of the last remaining voices of sanity over at the Republican Party. Is anyone listening? Does anyone else see how unrestrained partisanship is wiping out America’s brain cells? What will it take to restore even a modicum of sanity in a country that’s endured four years of Bush brainwashing?
Things are ugly here. I could blog 24/7 about the daily outrages I’m seeing, direct results of the scorched-earth mentality of the Bush-Cheney-Ashcroft axis of evil. The “kinder, gentler nation” envisioned by George Bush Sr. has been shelved, usurped by a self-righteous, arrogant country that believes anything that stands in its way, be it in Iraq or in the United States, should be bulldozed over. But they couldn’t be doing this alone; their partner in crime is the US media, which has deteriorated into a mindless, spineless sycophant that seems to exist only to hump George Bush’s leg. More on that topic to come.
Update: One of the constant thorn in the left’s side, Howie Kurz of the Washington Post, rejected rumors that Nightline’s controversial broadcast last nioght was about ratings.
Mr Kurtz scoffed at his colleague’s accusations that this was a ratings stunt.
“This isn’t going to get big ratings. This isn’t scintillating television. This is a moving gesture,” he said.
And he pointed out that several executives of Sinclair are donors to President Bush’s Republican Party and to Mr Bush’s re-election campaign.
“If there is anybody has a political agenda here, it’s the people who don’t want the American public to see this particular 30-minute reading of the names of the fallen,” Mr Kurtz said.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.