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Contrary to the public interest?
April 29, 2004 9:57 AM   Subscribe

On tomorrow's Nightline, "we will show you the pictures, and Ted [Koppel] will read the names, of the men and women from the armed forces who have been killed in combat in Iraq. That’s it. That will be the whole broadcast." Unfortunately, that means no broadcast whatsoever for Sinclair Broadcast Group's ABC affiliates. They've been ordered not to carry it because it's "contrary to the public interest."
posted by soyjoy (114 comments total)

 
Sorry - (via Romenesko)
posted by soyjoy at 9:59 AM on April 29, 2004


Part of Sinclair Broadcast Group's statement:

Before you judge our decision, however, we would ask that you first question Mr. Koppel as to why he chose to read the names of the 523 troops killed in combat in Iraq, rather than the names of the thousands of private citizens killed in terrorists attacks since and including the events of September 11, 2001. In his answer, you will find the real motivation behind his action scheduled for this Friday.
posted by crazy finger at 10:15 AM on April 29, 2004


Straw man argument.
posted by edgeways at 10:18 AM on April 29, 2004


People are saying there are a lot of similarities to the nightly count of days the hostages were held in Iran, back in 1980 , leading up the election. Was there any outrage then? I was only 8 at the time, so I don't remember much beyond the daily count.
posted by mathowie at 10:18 AM on April 29, 2004


that's stinky, but it's their right, i guess. It's good to know that Sinclair belongs with Clear Channel and Fox, etc, in the "supporting Republicans over and above their regularly scheduled programming" category.

and crazy, they did so many shows about 9/11, including scrolling all the names of victims, that people have lost count. It's way up in the hundreds. They still do 9/11 shows, as a matter of fact.
posted by amberglow at 10:20 AM on April 29, 2004


This is beautiful: (from the statement from Sinclair Broadcast)

Before you judge our decision, however, we would ask that you first question Mr. Koppel as to why he chose to read the names of the 523 troops killed in combat in Iraq, rather than the names of the thousands of private citizens killed in terrorists attacks since and including the events of September 11, 2001.

Good question. Perhaps we should also ask why Koppel isn't airing the names of the victims of the Murrah Building bombing, since they have just as much to do with the war in Iraq as the victims of September 11. Why not the names of those killed by Mao's forces in the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward? Surely they're somehow linked as well.

And of course, there's this: (from the ABC response)

Contrary to the statement issued by Sinclair, which takes issue with our level of coverage of the effects of terrorism on our citizens, ABC News and all of our broadcasts, including "Nightline," have reported hundreds of stories on 9-11. Indeed, on the first anniversary of 9-11, ABC News broadcast the names of the victims of that horrific attack.
posted by deadcowdan at 10:21 AM on April 29, 2004


there they go again - trying to connect terrorism and september 11 to our invasion and occupation of iraq. sinclair & co. has drunk freely of the coolaid.
posted by subpixel at 10:22 AM on April 29, 2004


mathowie, I don't remember any outrage, but the hostage crisis is why Nightline started in the first place...it became famous for mentioning "the 23rd day...", "this is the 24th day..." etc. Here's more In November 1979, ABC News broadcast "The Iran Hostage Crisis: America Held Hostage." Soon thereafter, ABC News President Roone Arledge announced that ABC would air nightly late-night specials until the crisis was resolved. Koppel joined the program as a substitute for its main anchor, Frank Reynolds. On March 24, 1980 - the 142nd day of the hostage crisis - ABC premiered "Nightline" with Koppel as its permanent anchor.
posted by amberglow at 10:26 AM on April 29, 2004


It strikes me as amusing that Sinclair's response is as (potentially) politically motivated as Nightline's action.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:26 AM on April 29, 2004


Jeebus, it's like some kind of demented version of the magic mirror from Romper Room

Will this really boost ratings? Will people actually factually watch this, or just talk about it (which is obviously indirectly good for Nightline, but won't show up in the sweeps).
posted by Capn at 10:31 AM on April 29, 2004


Yeah, because why would listing our dead soldiers in a foreign war be considered news anyway? We need REAL news, like who in Hollywood is screwing who this week!

Idiots.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:36 AM on April 29, 2004


Subpixel, don't you mean Kool Aid, not coolaid?
posted by tomplus2 at 10:37 AM on April 29, 2004


I don't see how this is "political". Surely even the most pro-war individuals recogize that our service men and service women who have died deserve some recognition.
posted by falconred at 10:41 AM on April 29, 2004


I suppose the Sinclair Broadcast Group's decision to pull the programme is not motivated by a political agenda designed to support the efforts of the United States Bush Regime in Iraq.

We must hide the true costs of war from the people otherwise they will not support it!

No agenda there.
posted by Blue Stone at 10:46 AM on April 29, 2004


The Kerrys' TiVo must be all set.

Now will Koppel wear a Kerry 2004 t-shirt? Will the entire costs of the show be automatically deducted from Kerry's financing funds?

Please only imagine if Fox News had a similar show made based exclusively on quotes from John Kerry, such as Kerry's statements regarding the military and American soldiers captured as POWs, Kerry's intention to submit command of all US Armed Forces to the United Nations, Kerry's insulting behavior towards secret service agents who protect him etc etc etc. How would liberals react to that?

I for one feel happy about tomorrow's show, since (mark my words) it will backfire badly. Not only will people see the transparent attempt to influence the election, but they'll also have yet another opportunity to ponder whether John Kerry has any strength or clout to deal with war issues.
posted by 111 at 10:55 AM on April 29, 2004


What utter cowardice and shamefulness on Sinclair's part. If it was a discussion on the war, or Koppel saying "these are the faces of people killed by Bush," or "Bush's war," etc. they might have a sliver of a point.

But that's not what's happening. All they're doing is showing faces and reading names. Anti-war people could draw different conclusions than pro-war people- any discussion it promoted would be seperate from the program itself. The only people to immediately announce that doing this is an affront on Bush is the Sinclair Group.

Does anyone else find it ironic that the Sinclair Group had to decide that mentioning Dead soldiers would make Bush look bad all on their own before banning the program under the excuse that this program has an unfair political slant? What small, hypocritical slimes these people are.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:55 AM on April 29, 2004


Finally, a truly patriotic act by mass media.

How better to honor the fallen soldiers?

As for Sinclair, well, it has already been effectively refuted.

So that makes them Bush boot lickers? I say yes.
posted by nofundy at 10:55 AM on April 29, 2004


"A man who says that no patriot should attack the Boer War until it is over is not worth answering intelligently; he is saying that no good son should warn his mother off a cliff until she has fallen over it. But there is an anti-patriot who honestly angers honest men, and the explanation of him is, I think, what I have suggested: he is the uncandid candid friend; the man who says, "I am sorry to say we are ruined," and is not sorry at all. And he may be said, without rhetoric, to be a traitor."

-- G.K. Chesterson, Orthodoxy, pg. 74.
posted by gd779 at 10:57 AM on April 29, 2004


It's possible that this was inspired by a famous Life Magazine photospread from 1969 entitled Vietnam: One Weeks Dead which featured page after page of bright-eyed american youth, laid out like a high-school yearbook, providing a personal diimension to the statistic of "242 killed". There's no doubt that this article contributed to turning the tide of US public opinion against the war - let's hope this one has a similar effect...
posted by dinsdale at 10:58 AM on April 29, 2004


Please only imagine if Fox News had a similar show made based exclusively on quotes from John Kerry

Why exactly is it pro-Kerry, 111? I think it'd only be an analogue to that if it consisted of pictures of Bush mouthing his lies about how al-Qaeda was connected to Iraq, how Iraq was an imminent threat, how Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and how Iraq was to blame for 9/11.
posted by Vidiot at 10:59 AM on April 29, 2004


wait, people are dying in Iraq???
posted by NationalKato at 11:00 AM on April 29, 2004


You don't show the coffins , they don't exist ! Compriende ? Nobody is dead and this is not a potential Vietnam. Nuthing to see here carry on.
posted by elpapacito at 11:02 AM on April 29, 2004


ignore him ignore him ignore him
posted by jpoulos at 11:02 AM on April 29, 2004


(yah, I know better, jpoulos. I should've.)
posted by Vidiot at 11:03 AM on April 29, 2004


I can't imagine many people actually watching something like this, as it sounds like quite boring television, so the idea that it's a sweeps week stunt (as some have accused) is completely ridiculous. But I agree that our fallen should be honored for their service, and this idea is certainly no worse than many war memorials.

Although it does seem kind of presumptuous to do it now, as though the conflict were past and the rolls complete.
posted by kindall at 11:04 AM on April 29, 2004


Of course, this has *nothing* to do with May sweeps...

I smell money more than political ideology on Nightline's part.
posted by hadashi at 11:05 AM on April 29, 2004


I wonder if they'll ever read a list of the Iraqi civilian casualties as well. Or for that matter, if such a list could even be accurately compiled.

All the same, some introspection in the public eye is better than none at all.
posted by loquacious at 11:06 AM on April 29, 2004


I for one feel happy about tomorrow's show, since (mark my words) it will backfire badly. Not only will people see the transparent attempt to influence the election, but they'll also have yet another opportunity to ponder whether John Kerry has any strength or clout to deal with war issues.

I have this image in my head now of 111 at the Vietnam Wall screaming at all the visitors that they're just reading a bunch of transparent attempts to influence an election.

(Sorry, jpolous, when the pile of shit is that big, pretending you don't smell it looks silly)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:09 AM on April 29, 2004


I'm completely baffled at the supposed "patriots" behavior:
I thought that they were proud of their soldiers. of the alive ones, and especially of the dead.
they seem to be so ashamed of them, instead.

those brave kids followed their commander-in-chief's orders, went to Iraq and paid with their lives. they're true patriots, and America should be proud of them.

why be so afraid of their names being mentioned?
is that patriotic?

invisible caskets, invisible names.
so sad.
posted by matteo at 11:13 AM on April 29, 2004


This reminds me of the reading of names at showings of the AIDS quilt. There's no better way to recognize and honor the namless and faceless who have died for you than than to give them names and faces.

This is not a political move. This is someone presenting facts. The individual will assign meaning to it based on what s/he wants it to mean.
posted by archimago at 11:16 AM on April 29, 2004


As painful as something like this is, I think it is important. Let's remember that these are people who gave their lives for this. This performance can be skewed to support either the pro- or anti- war agenda, so is in some sense a-politcal. And yes, loquacious, I think we should look at teh Iraqi civilians too.
posted by jmgorman at 11:29 AM on April 29, 2004


Now will Koppel wear a Kerry 2004 t-shirt? Will the entire costs of the show be automatically deducted from Kerry's financing funds?

So in other words, you believe that merely recognizing our war dead will make Bush look bad? What does that say about your opinion of this war, let alone anyone else's? And furthermore you believe that this is a reason not to do it? What does that say about your priorities: protecting Bush the man is more imporant than protecting our honor as Americans?

Maybe if Bush would himself acknowledge the dead, they wouldn't need to do this. Perhaps if he'd take an hour or two off from his endless vacations or his permanent reelection campaign (with laughably thin pretexts of doing the nation's business, in order to get you to pay for it) to actually go a funeral once in a while, they wouldn't need to do this. By the way, that's one thing that gives me some small hope that there is some decency in Blair. He has attended funerals, he has spoken in a reverent, dignified way at memorial services for the war dead, and he doesn't forbid news coverage of the returning dead. I'm no fan of Blair anymore, but there are depths to which he won't descend. Closer to home, no such depths exist.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:31 AM on April 29, 2004


The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on pbs shows the pictures and names of recently deceased soldiers every night at the end of the program.
posted by jsonic at 11:32 AM on April 29, 2004


"motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq."

Bingo!

This has nothing do with honoring the troops, and everything to do with Ted Koppel wanting to have a "Walter Cronkite" anti-war moment that will be remembered by liberal journalists for decades.
posted by Durwood at 11:39 AM on April 29, 2004


Here in Oklahoma City, Sinclair does own the Fox station. They've replaced the local news at 9PM (the last hour of prime time) with about six minutes of local news, followed by the rest of the newscast from their "News Central" studios in Baltimore, fed to all Sinclair stations.

They advertise the news during primetime, so while watching The Simpsons and Arrested Development and other shows over the past few months, I've seen several breathless advertisements talking about stories catching "John Kerry's latest lies" or wondering if voters have the courage to support the President. Sinclair's news is transparently Fox-style biased, but it may go unnoticed here since many people make think it actually is Fox.

(Sinclair also owns the WB station in OKC, but doesn't air any news on it.)
posted by mdeatherage at 11:44 AM on April 29, 2004


if America were under siege and these brave men and women had died directly defending the country, no one would have a problem with reading their names or showing their pictures.

as it is, people are ashamed to look at these people, because they know they died for reasons that have more to do with establishing global control then defending freedom.
posted by chaz at 11:52 AM on April 29, 2004


You know, there's no logical argument here. Apparently Sinclair Media (and their little cadre of politically blindered straw-merchants here & elsewhere) are just being contrary because they want the problem to go away until after the election.

And it's OKC and similar places I'm worried about. Outside of the half-dozen biggest American cities, the right doesn't just dominate the media, it saturates. Those are the people Ted Koppel is actually threatening to name names to, which is why the censorship thing is in Sinclair's best interests. Funny thing is, this is inevitable as the casualties mount. Soon, everyone is going to know an Iraq vet, and these people giving their lives for this country will never be merely a number on a ledger again.

How the pointyheads at Sinclair are able to wash the stink out of their clothes at the end of the day baffles me.
posted by chicobangs at 11:54 AM on April 29, 2004


I should clarify, in case it gets bypassed, that Sinclair does not own the ABC station in OKC, so the Nightline broadcast will air here. Hearst-Argyle owns the ABC station, KOCO-TV 5.
posted by mdeatherage at 12:05 PM on April 29, 2004


Listing of Sinclair Stations
posted by bargle at 12:06 PM on April 29, 2004


Yes, heaven forbid. Get those coffins outa here boys, it's a buzzkill.
posted by digaman at 12:10 PM on April 29, 2004


I love you ted. Do it. How does undermine the war effort again? How does this differ from what Jim Leherer does?
posted by clavdivs at 12:12 PM on April 29, 2004


At the top of the page of Sinclair stations, they've got a clickable map showing where their markets are. Except they've got the locations of some cities way off (St. Louis, for example) and at least one in the wrong state (Paducah, KY / Cape Girardeau, MO is displayed in Illinois).

Don't know what to make of that, but I found it amusing.
posted by ewagoner at 12:26 PM on April 29, 2004


I take it then that every news story about Pat Tillman is anti-Bush as well? I mean, he did die while fighting in action ordered by Bush overseas. Clearly that must have just been lefty Bush bashing too, right?
posted by mzanatta at 12:29 PM on April 29, 2004


Although it does seem kind of presumptuous to do it now, as though the conflict were past and the rolls complete.

That's the part that's sticking in my craw. Iraq is not over. The Afghanistan campaign isn't even over, as the death of Pat Tillman illustrates so abundantly. The timing is suspect; if there was an ongoing desire on ABC's part to honor our war dead, they could be taking the Jim Lehrer route. They could use do a 2 hour Primetime program, as they've done in the past for far less important topics, which would allow time for far more than just a bad-haired anchor reading a list of disembodied names.

Instead, they're relegating this, uh, programming choice, to Nightline, a show with a core audience made up of news junkies, policy and politic wonks, people willing to stay up until midnight to watch a show that overwhelmingly focuses on politically charged topics while simultaneously retaining the typical perspective seen in most if not all offerings of major corporate media outlets.

I can't go nearly as far as 111 in painting this as an straightforward pandering to the pro-Kerry position but the stated intention does not jibe well with the timing, the timeslot or the known audience and so I, for one, find myself asking who benefits from this show? It's not our soldiers, their families or the general public which will mostly be catching zzzz's (or the lameness of Leno) when this airs, so who?
posted by Dreama at 12:52 PM on April 29, 2004


I can't go nearly as far as 111 in painting this as an straightforward pandering to the pro-Kerry position but the stated intention does not jibe well with the timing, the timeslot or the known audience and so I, for one, find myself asking who benefits from this show? It's not our soldiers, their families or the general public which will mostly be catching zzzz's (or the lameness of Leno) when this airs, so who?

By that logic, Dreama, it would make more sense then to read a list of names and faces during prime time across all major networks simultaneously, devoid of station, demographic, and partisan persuasion. For some reason I don't see the people against this broadcast supporting that either. It's sad, but apparently the debate has degraded itself to "mentioning dead (American) soldiers = anti-Bush."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:04 PM on April 29, 2004


This was also posted, sans the news about Sinclair Broadcasting, in a comment, made in response to

If even 1% of the able-bodied male population of Iraq were participating in armed resistance - and the weapons are there to support such a force - do you think we'd be seeing the historically tiny casualty figures we are?

The response to its being posted was:

Thank God we've lost so few in Iraq that our entire nation can see the face and mourn the loss and try to appreciate the sacrifice of each individual who has given his or her life for their country. During World War II, it would've taken one of these tribute shows every three days, just for the past three days' casualties, for 4 straight years.

Your mileage may vary.
posted by y2karl at 1:08 PM on April 29, 2004


I think Nightline's producers are just finally fed up with the shit they have been getting from the Bush Regime. Dear Leader and his posse have been riding roughshod over the truth of this entire conflict. Koppel and co. seem intent on simply adding some overlooked statistics to the "conversation".

I say "Go Ted Go."
posted by mooncrow at 1:09 PM on April 29, 2004


Thanks soyjoy, I just contacted my station to complain.
posted by moonbird at 1:14 PM on April 29, 2004


If Sinclair is so upset that the names of the 9/11 dead aren't being read tomorrow (and as ABC's response notes, those names were read on 9/11/02), why aren't they using that timeslot -- and other airtime they control -- to read those names, themselves, on their stations?

They own the transmitters in question, after all...
posted by Vidiot at 1:28 PM on April 29, 2004


It's pretty funny, in a sick way, Sinclair asking if they've mentioned all the dead from terrorism. You know, since the war isn't about terrorism and was never about terrorism. In fact, nobody mentioned terrorism. Never, not once. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Looks like sinclair didn't get the new version of the Alphaville dictionary.

And yeah, this is a transparent attempt to boost ratings. You know what? It's still a good thing. I"ve got friends over there, and, God forbid, should something happen to them, I don't want them shipped back in secrecy like some goddam malfunctioning piece of equipment.

I didn't much like Bush for lying about taxes. But I f***ing hate him for ignoring our war dead. I think a president who sends our men and women off to die, and then ignores them like so much cattle, is nothing short of a traitor. I'll say it again, traitor.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:33 PM on April 29, 2004


I smell money more than political ideology on Nightline's part.

I can see it now...

Jake Anderson...
George Astor...
William -- We'll be right back after a word from our sponsors!

Cue poorly chosen commercials:
Do you have painful cramps during that "time of the month"? ...
Gosh, it sure is tough playing baseball with these hemorroids!...
Tide gets the blood out!

Welcome back!

Harry Baxter...
Tim Browning...
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:35 PM on April 29, 2004


this is a transparent attempt to boost ratings.

It is? It'll be forty monotonous minutes of pictures and names. That's hardly Nielsen-bait. Not like missing people (preferably cute, young, white, and female), "news you can use", lurid crime stories, Michael Jackson, the end of "Friends", celebrities dating each other, and "your couch could kill you."
posted by Vidiot at 1:55 PM on April 29, 2004


Boost ratings? Actually, its Sinclair who has acted in a way sure to boost the ratings. How many people watch Nightline on any given Friday night anyway? It has to be their lowest rated night. What Sinclair's idiotic chest thumping has done is make sure that this gesture on the part of Koppel and co. gets more attention than it probably otherwise would have. So, good job Sinclair! Mission accomplished! I would have missed the show myself, but now I'll make sure to Tivo it and watch at least some of it.
posted by spilon at 2:05 PM on April 29, 2004


on the political campaign contribution angle - the Sinclair Broadcast Group has donated $132,400.00 to the Republicans and $0.00 to the Democrats . . . type in Sinclair Broadcast and see for yourself.
posted by nyoki at 2:27 PM on April 29, 2004


So in other words, you believe that merely recognizing our war dead will make Bush look bad?

George_Spiggott , Nietzsche's "there are no facts, only versions" applies here. Of course there are soldiers dying-- it's a war, not a role-playing game. But the context is everything.
posted by 111 at 3:27 PM on April 29, 2004


here's more donations to Bush by Sinclair, from opensecrets
posted by amberglow at 3:50 PM on April 29, 2004


Although it does seem kind of presumptuous to do it now, as though the conflict were past and the rolls complete.

One good reason to do it tomorrow night: it's the last day of what has thus far been the most deadly month of the war. America lost 135 troops this April (and that number may be even higher by tomorrow). This is the first time that the number of American casualties for one month has been in the hundreds - the previous highest was 82, in November.

It seems to me that the timing of this broadcast is quite sensible, and not at all presumptuous.
posted by bubukaba at 3:56 PM on April 29, 2004


Too bad it couldn't be Saturday -- the one year anniversary of the infamous "Mission Accomplished" stunt speech.
posted by pmurray63 at 4:29 PM on April 29, 2004


111, when exactly would be a good time to do this? If this had been a week before elections, I would understand your argument. But we're still months from November; plus, the very concept of the "liberal media" is laughable nowadays, particularly if you follow the campaign money trail.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:38 PM on April 29, 2004


But the context is everything.

Huh? They're reading names and showing pictures. No commentary, no political analysis, no retired generals or policy experts fretting over the future of the Iraq campaign. What's the context that concerns you?

Or is the lack of context the very thing that bothers you? Would it be better if after stating the name of each soldier, the announcer said: "Of course, it's a war, so it can only be expected that some people would die. What do you think this is, some kind of role playing game?" Would that be more patriotic? More respectful to the President and his administration? More respectful to the soldiers and their families?

I've got news for you, 111: any negative context that you might be sensing here is being supplied by your own paranoid little mind.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:40 PM on April 29, 2004


And one more thing. Anyone who would dismiss the sacrifices of hundreds of American soldiers with the sentence "Of course there are soldiers dying-- it's a war, not a role-playing game." doesn't have much of a claim to any patriotic high ground. That statement is as disrespectful towards members of the American military as anything I've heard since this whole mess started.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:47 PM on April 29, 2004


For those calling this a ratings grab: perhaps they might remember what George W. Bush was doing to grab the ratings on May 1st, 2003.

Hint: it involved dressing up and a 'Mission Accomplished' banner. He is truly the Mr Benn of our political generation.

Sinclair's management also appears to be under the impression that Saddam personally guided those planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. What a surprise that they're shills for the Republicans. And surely broadcasters shouldn't be allowed to make political contributions?
posted by riviera at 5:06 PM on April 29, 2004


I'd like to suggest an alternative reply that Sinclair COULD have made:

Before you judge our decision, however, we would ask that you first question Mr. Koppel as to why he chose to read the names of the 523 troops killed in combat in Iraq, rather than the names of the hundreds if not thousands of private citizens killed in the invasion of Iraq since the US first invaded. In his answer, you will find the real motivation behind his action scheduled for this Friday.

There. That would be just as valid, wouldn't it, if Sinclair were truly concerned somehow with the sanctity of US dead, and not just concerned about a programme that makes Bush look bad?
posted by kaemaril at 5:22 PM on April 29, 2004


I wonder if they'll add in the 10 more killed today, and whoever dies bet. now and airtime.
posted by amberglow at 5:31 PM on April 29, 2004


111, when exactly would be a good time to do this?

Civil_disobedient, anytime at all during the commercial break. This is propaganda disguised as high-falutin phony patriotism. They are using corpses of soldiers for a cynical soapbox to support a fast-falling liberal candidate.

the very concept of the "liberal media" is laughable nowadays,

The issue is quite simply this: while Fox News is openly conservative, we do not have an equally outspoken TV channel or big media source ostensibly liberal.Nevertheless, at the same time the public has to endure dozens of programmes, anchors etc who pretend to be "impartial observers", when they are surreptitiously (but not subtly) trying to push a liberal message. Raymond Aron, for instance, had the decency to have a book of interviews with him named "Le Spectateur Engagé" ("The Compromised/Committed Spectator/Witness"). CNN or most NYT journalists and columnists present themselves as impartial chroniclers of world affairs, but they have a leftist agenda that must be denounced.

Huh? They're reading names and showing pictures. No commentary, no political analysis, no retired generals or policy experts fretting over the future of the Iraq campaign. What's the context that concerns you?

Mr.roboto, imagine a show consisting only of images from John Kerry's mansions. Harmless, huh? But not in the current political background.

I've got news for you, 111: any negative context that you might be sensing here is being supplied by your own paranoid little mind.

No it isn't.This is an attempt to suggest that the Bush Presidency is the sole responsible for the military deaths. Why doesn't Nightline at least have the guts to go all the way and simply name the show "Bring it On" or "GWB's Victims"? Anything as long as they don't pretend it's "just the facts".

Anyone who would dismiss the sacrifices of hundreds of American soldiers with the sentence "Of course there are soldiers dying-- it's a war, not a role-playing game." doesn't have much of a claim to any patriotic high ground. That statement is as disrespectful towards members of the American military as anything I've heard since this whole mess started.

It's precisely the opposite. It's respectful in the sense that it is realistic towards the nature of war, it doesn't try to pretend that armed conflicts can be bowdlerized though euphemisms and, most of all, it clearly recognizes the daily dangers involved in going to war, which implies even greater respect for the deceased and living soldiers as well as true sympathy for their loved ones.
posted by 111 at 5:45 PM on April 29, 2004


This is an attempt to suggest that the Bush Presidency is the sole responsible for the military deaths...

in your paranoid little mind.

I could say more -- what are the motiviations behind the reading of names every September 11th? -- but I'm sure you have war memorials to desecrate, so I shan't.
posted by riviera at 5:48 PM on April 29, 2004


Sinclair, The Next Fox, 'Fair and Balanced' --from Newsmax
One of the nation’s newest and fastest-growing TV news networks says it's tired of left-leaning news reporting and wants to offer Americans a fair and balanced perspective, just as Fox News Channel does.
Fox News eschewed politically correct news to become the dominant force on cable news. And now the Sinclair Broadcast Group has been following in Fox's footsteps to do the same for broadcast news in news markets across the nation.

posted by amberglow at 5:51 PM on April 29, 2004


riviera, I want the show to go ahead. Let the public decide whether it is or isn't partisan.
posted by 111 at 5:52 PM on April 29, 2004


...it doesn't try to pretend that armed conflicts can be bowdlerized though euphemisms...

These words do not mean what you appear to think they mean.

...which implies even greater respect for the deceased and living soldiers as well as true sympathy for their loved ones.

Does it? I dare you to go up to the mother of a dead soldier and say "I'm sorry you lost your son, but this is war after all, not a role playing game. What did you expect?" It's dismissive and disrespectful and it would earn you a gob of spit on the face, no matter how many three-syllable words you tried to use to justify it.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:04 PM on April 29, 2004


It's precisely the opposite. It's respectful in the sense that it is realistic towards the nature of war, it doesn't try to pretend that armed conflicts can be bowdlerized though euphemisms and, most of all, it clearly recognizes the daily dangers involved in going to war, which implies even greater respect for the deceased and living soldiers as well as true sympathy for their loved ones.

Bullshit.
Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit.
I say again. How exactly is ignoring soldier funerals, and making it illegal to show pictures of thier coffins being returned home 'realistic towards the nature of war'. For all your high-minded complaining about this being propaganda of the most scurrilous and low intentioned sort, I hear no suggestions about how our war dead should be remembered. Because remember, right now, they're being ignored.
About two months ago, I went back to my hometown to visit. My brother introduced me to his favorite waitress at the local bar who was about to ship out the next morning to drive trucks around the Sunni Triangle. We know that her unit was one of the ones that took heavy casualites a few weeks ago, but we don't know about her. Why? Because this adminisitration is being particularly closed mouthed about casualties. I wish to God this had started a month ago. I might have some idea whether that brave girl was still alive.
posted by lumpenprole at 7:29 PM on April 29, 2004


anytime at all during the commercial break

While I disagree with your opinions of the media's political slant, I do have to admit this would be a very good idea. It would send a great, bi-partisan message to viewers if they could put their commercial interests to the side for a little bit each day and honor the dead. That would really be something. It will never happen.

Also, just to clarify, I don't think that the media is particularly conservative per se, only that they will always cater to whatever demographic best serves their pocketbooks; in this day and age, it happens to be the conservative agenda.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:37 PM on April 29, 2004


The Poynter Institute interviewed Ted Koppel today.
posted by Vidiot at 9:02 PM on April 29, 2004


This is an attempt to suggest that the Bush Presidency is the sole responsible for the military deaths.

Why, you mean the "Commander in Chief" isn't responsible for what the military does, in the minds of the right? Guess we shouldn't be surprised, since he and they are trying to duck responsibility for everything else, including the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history occuring on his watch.

And of course, it isn't solely GW's fault. Thousands of chickenhawks bravely calling for war from behind their computer keyboards and from the oh so harsh front lines of Clear Channel call-in radio shows everywhere also have blood on their hands. Despicable.

In other news, another loony lefty named....wait for it....Paul Bremer (yes, THAT Paul Bremer) said AWOL didn't do squat about terrorism before 9/11:

Bremer faulted bush before terror attacks
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:40 PM on April 29, 2004


f_&_m: Thank you for a tilde-free comment. You have no idea how much of a difference it makes. Really.

Today, Ted Koppel fired back at WP TV critic Lisa de Moraes, who reports today on "an interesting standoff: Sinclair yesterday tried to get an interview with Koppel for a program it has produced about its decision to pull "Nightline." It plans to air the show on its ABC stations tonight in the "Nightline" slot. Sinclair was turned down because, ABC News told The TV Column, Koppel would be airing against Koppel."
posted by soyjoy at 6:56 AM on April 30, 2004


Because this adminisitration is being particularly closed mouthed about casualties. I wish to God this had started a month ago. I might have some idea whether that brave girl was still alive.

Wow. They're not in a different solar system, lumpenprole. If you were close to her, she can be contacted through various forms of communication. If you don't know her well enough to call or write, but are still truly interested and not just making emotional hyperbole, then all you have to do is try. This seems to me to be a case of "why put forth any effort when I can simply blame others for my laziness?" Or, more likely, an opportunity to cry, "Motherfucking Bush hiding the truth! We can't get any information because of that s'ombitch!" Please. Effort is all that it takes, and not very much.

This isn't breaking news, nor is it revealing hidden information. The families and friends of the dead know about their losses, and parading the names of the fallen in front of the nation to push a political agenda or simply 'make a splash' in sweeps week is incredibly disrespectful to the mourning families.
posted by David Dark at 11:37 AM on April 30, 2004


The families and friends of the dead know about their losses, and parading the names of the fallen in front of the nation to push a political agenda or simply 'make a splash' in sweeps week is incredibly disrespectful to the mourning families.

Ted Koppel's previously linked response:

Are you surprised, in the end, that this program has gotten this much attention and I assume will get more in the next 24 hours?

Yes. I really am. I didn't expect that. I thought it would get attention, but did I think it would become so controversial, did I think that people would feel the need to question the patriotism of those who are putting it on the air? Did I think that it would descend to the depths of some people suggesting we were doing this because the networks are going into a sweeps period when ratings become important?

You start to wonder after a while. I've been doing "Nightline" for over 24 years, I've been at ABC for 41 years, if that's really the impression I've left with people then I have failed in such a colossal way that I can't even begin to consider the consequences of it.

But quite apart from that, it seems to me absolutely silly that anyone would suggest that we were doing this for ratings. In point of fact, we were sitting around (a) unaware that it was sweeps, that's how dumb we are at "Nightline."

But we were actually sitting around saying, you know, what'll probably happen is that people will tune in for 30 seconds or two minutes or maybe five minutes, but I doubt very much that many viewers are going to hang on for the whole broadcast. If anything, our expectation was that this program might have fewer viewers than normal. It never occurred to us that someone might think we were doing this for ratings.


He has a point, very few viewers will have the strength to sit through the whole program. There are no higher ratings to be gained in showing this program. To argue otherwise is to be a happy talk bobblehead on a fool's errand.

In additional news: Juan Cole has a guest commentary by the former CIA station chief for Saudi Arabia.

Guest Commentary: Ray Close on 'The Real Meaning of Fallujah'

I take all of this as additional strong evidence supporting the points that I made last week, before the new compromise solution in Fallujah was proposed:

1. The political personalities around whom Lakhdar Brahimi and the United Nations will build a transitional governing authority in Iraq after 30 June (whoever they may be; it doesn't matter) have already privately abandoned any expectation that the United States military will be an appropriate or an effective force on which to rely for the establishment of unity and stability in the country; where there is no such expectation, there can no longer be any real trust, and where there is a lack of trust, there will inevitably be conflict, first political, soon violent;

2. The leadership group on which Lakhdar Brahimi bestows "legitimacy" on 30 June will have the intention (perhaps not publicly expressed at first) of vesting complete responsibility for military and security decision-making to a strictly IRAQI command authority just as quickly as possible; in the short term, this may seem virtually impossible because of insufficient resources, but it has become the clear objective of even the most moderate and reasonable Iraqis of the leadership class; the political imperative of independence may very well trump the obviously high short-term risks of chaos; the Iraqi people place a very high value on stability, and rightly so, but the force of national self-determination can become irresistible in an atmosphere of foreign occupation, and reason is sometimes the loser in that contest. Ask the Hungarians in 1956. Ask the Palestinians today

3. This means that the US Army will probably be obliged to leave Iraq before Bush, Rumsfeld & Company are prepared to manage the retreat as if it were a triumphant event for freedom; the Americans will therefore be seen by the rest of the world, and particularly the Muslim world, in much the same light as were the Israelis when they departed from Southern Lebanon ---as a frustrated and defeated occupation force expelled by victorious nationalists; this will make many Americans who supported the "liberation" of Iraq extremely angry and resentful;
the British and other members of the glorious "coalition of the willing" will effectively have to make the best of a bad situation --- if they haven't wisely removed themselves from the scene in the meanwhile ;

4. All of which makes the probabilities of chaos and civil war in Iraq next year even higher than we pessimists have been predicting. (UNLESS the "expulsion" of the American "occupiers" serves to unify Iraqis and restore their sense of national unity and common purpose; my fear is that this would be only a temporary triumph at best; historic divisions and rivalries would very soon resurface, and chaos would pick up where it left off.) "


Chaos and civil war--for this, the fallen gave their lives ?
posted by y2karl at 12:23 PM on April 30, 2004


I still don't understand the automatic assumption that this is being done to "push a political agenda." The context is very bare-bones, as has been noted above. And it seems pretty disingenuous to accuse ABC of a "liberal" or "anti-war" or "pro-Kerry" bias here, with no evidence at all that that's what's behind it. (And Sievers and Koppel have both said that it isn't intended as a political statement.)

If Fox did it (well, since they are the Flag-Waving Network), I surmise that all of a sudden it'd be about honoring our brave troops in your eyes.
posted by Vidiot at 12:23 PM on April 30, 2004


Senator McCain wrote a letter to Sinclair: ... 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. ...
posted by amberglow at 12:28 PM on April 30, 2004


By the way, if you want to contact Sinclair directly, their phone number is 410-568-1500. You may have to try a few times to get through.
posted by Vidiot at 12:35 PM on April 30, 2004


On the related topic:

Q&A with Anthony Zinni, Former Commander in chief of U.S. Central command

You said all of the generals were against this war and the civilians were for it. What were the Chiefs of Staff doing? Weren't they doing the planning? How come that stuff that you're recommending wasn't done?

Look, when I was the commander in chief of Central Command, Gen. Hugh Shelton was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He required all the service chiefs and all the CINCS, to read "Dereliction of Duty," written by H.R. McMaster, a young Army major now colonel. It talked about the negligence of the joint chiefs during Vietnam who all knew what was being done was wrong in many aspects. Not only the strategy and policy in Vietnam, but also the way we were fighting the war, decisions like individual rotations rather than unit rotation. And we not only were forced to read the book and told to read it, we had a meeting in Washington where he brought in young McMasters, who addressed us about that negligence. So you ask why? It's a good question. There's going to be another dereliction of duty written in the future.

So you're suggesting the administration came in and said this is what we're going to do, shut up and do it?

The worst-kept secret in Washington is that as soon as this administration came in there was talk about taking down Iraq from day one. It's the worst-kept secret in Washington. There were Cabinet meetings where the deputy secretary of defense and others were pushing this. And certainly after 9/11 it was even more intense.

So what they did militarily and politically in Iraq, none of what you recommended happened?

Well, I'll give you my hopeful formula to get out of this. But every day and every decision makes it worse. The first thing you do when you find yourself in a hole is stop digging. They seem to continue to dig. This 'stay the course' idea is wonderful except the course is leading us over Niagara Falls.

What would you recommend doing?

I would go to the members of the Security Council; France, Russia, China and others and ask what will it take to get a U.N. resolution that we need that will give cover, that will give the countries that might be willing to participate at least what they need back home to contribute in some way, to help share the burden on the ground.

What is the significance of June 30 as the date for handing over nominal sovereignty to the Iraqis?

Yeah, tell me. It's November, whatever election day is. It's to get this turned over with sufficient space to recover from any disasters by November, in my view. What is the significance of June 30? I have no idea.

Power goes from Bremer to the U.S. ambassador?

Well, in effect. But actually, what power? That's a good question. What powers do the Iraqis have? Whatever replaces the governing council? Whatever (U.N. representative) Brahimi is able to broker is going to be to whom power passes. Bremer leaves. Negroponte comes in with a 3,000-man embassy, another stupid decision; this big fortress America that we're going to put in this place. And what's his power compared to this entity who has not even been defined? And who trumps who? If all of a sudden there's a problem and the governing entity decides to deal with it in a different way than say the ambassador decides to deal with it, who overrules whom?

Aren't you describing a hopeless situation?

I'm describing a situation that got here because we didn't think this through in the beginning. This is the dog that caught the car here...

posted by y2karl at 2:34 PM on April 30, 2004


david d. smith - president of sinclair broadcasting group: mr. moral highground
posted by specialk420 at 2:42 PM on April 30, 2004


Analysis: The politics of 'The Fallen'

Free Press, a non-partisan group that promotes "informed public participation in crucial media policy debates," said it would investigate whether Sinclair has "fulfilled its obligations as a steward of the public airwaves," and would challenge Sinclair station license renewals. In a letter to Smith, Free Press President Robert McChesney said Sinclair's decision was a misuse of its power as a broadcaster.

"What we see in Sinclair broadcasting, with its cozy and corrupt relationship to the Bush administration, is TV journalism that is anything but independent of the government," said McChesney in a statement. "It is a commercial version of Pravda, and it is an outrageous and entirely unacceptable use of the public's airwaves."

McChesney cited data provided by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics showing that Sinclair executives had donated more than $16,000 in hard money and more than $120,000 in soft money to President Bush and other Republicans and conservatives since 2000. He also noted that the president supported changes in media-ownership rules in 2003 that "would have benefited Sinclair handsomely."

Wayne Smith, a spokesman for the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation in Washington, said the "Nightline" program is "long overdue." Smith told United Press International the public needs to be informed about the number of U.S. war dead in Iraq, particularly in light of an incident Thursday, in which Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in testimony to Congress put the number of combat deaths in Iraq at "approximately" 350.

"Here is the man, second in command at the Department of Defense, responsible for U.S. military forces, and he didn't know how many Americans had died," said Smith. "I submit this is a case of out of sight, out of mind. It is an insult for any veteran and family not to know the cost of this war."

posted by y2karl at 2:52 PM on April 30, 2004


Breaking Sinclair censorship, ABC has made sure that viewers in most of the Sinclair markets can still watch Nightline if they choose to do so.
posted by calwatch at 3:26 PM on April 30, 2004


You can send an e-mail to Sinclair's David Smith at the Common Cause Action Center.
posted by Otis at 3:35 PM on April 30, 2004


This I find very odd.

But quite apart from that, it seems to me absolutely silly that anyone would suggest that we were doing this for ratings. In point of fact, we were sitting around (a) unaware that it was sweeps, that's how dumb we are at "Nightline."

Riiiiiiiiight. A guy who's been at ABC for 41 years doesn't know when sweeps are? Moreover, not one person associated with the show "Nightline" knows when sweeps are, for that matter? If you're in the television business, you know damn well when sweeps are.

karl, karl, karl, you'll really fall for anything, won't you?

He has a point. . . There are no higher ratings to be gained in showing this program.

Since you're predicting that this will be one of Nightline's lowest rated shows, I predict this broadcast will be Nightline's highest rated show in April. We'll see how it turns out.

Oh, and karl? Would you mind putting your bobblehead news briefs somewhere else or start a new thread? Metafilter isn't your Iraq blog, and we're trying to discuss Nightline vs. Sinclair. That's not an open invitation to dump anything Iraq/Juan Cole/Bush-related into this thread, using oxymoronic too-small-but-bolded-for-effect typeface. God, you're annoying.
posted by David Dark at 4:04 PM on April 30, 2004


Since you're predicting that this will be one of Nightline's lowest rated shows, I predict this broadcast will be Nightline's highest rated show in April. We'll see how it turns out.

i think you're missing the point that SIN-CLAIR brought all this attention to the broadcast, not Nightline. i hadn't heard about this show at all before they decided to publicly pull this particular broadcast. drawing major attention to this single broadcast - wayyyy more word of mouth and interest has been generated than Nightline could have ever hoped for with the most spectacular advertising they could cook up for such a show.
posted by nyoki at 7:09 PM on April 30, 2004


God, you're annoying.

At least he's informative.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 8:02 PM on April 30, 2004


Oh, and karl? Would you mind putting your bobblehead news briefs somewhere else or start a new thread?

Oh, and David? No, I'm on a diet since the angry Pollyannas pitch such a hissy when I make a front page post Iraq-related. So, I'm just passin' on the better updates when I run across them, here and there, where they are even vaguely related. Except perhaps for the pleasure garnered from knowing your chain got yanked, I could hardly care less what you think or say, O angry Pollyanna.

The Angry Pollyannas--now there's a band name. Maybe you need to vent, David--why don't you mosey on over to the prisoner abuse thread and give everyone a pep talk on how all the Iraqis love and admire us?

Oh, let me also point out that, slightly on topic:

The last time U.S. troops experienced a two-week loss such as this one in Iraq was October 1971, two years before U.S. ground involvement ended in Vietnam.

--all for a war so long on sell, short in execution and in occupation, so long turned into hell on earth for all concerned, save the big shots in the Green Zone. All the while, increasing the productivity in adding new names and new faces to the rolls of the fallen. Dead Other People's Children Total Exceeds All Previous ! Way to go team !

We are the dog who caught the car, indeed.

And David, you're still giving us the picture of little girl in Basra wearing the black hijab, holding the toothpick poled stamp-sized paper American flag in Basra. Sorry, but the Iraqis don't love us. They want us to go. And who bought that ad agency stage-managed-and-shot-little image then? Who but the dreamers of the 82nd Couchborne, Who would buy it now?

No one but the angry Pollyannas, itchin' to see some military ass kicking from safely in front of the Home Entertainment Center, rooting for their little Romantic Militarist wet dreams that kill other people's children. Oh, don't mention that ! It's not supporting the troops to point out they being asked to die for a fantasy ! Only the angry Pollyannas can exploit their deaths ! Waving their little toothpick flags all the while !
posted by y2karl at 8:13 PM on April 30, 2004


Artimus D. Brassfield
posted by clavdivs at 8:53 PM on April 30, 2004


Did any of you see what Sinclair played instead? Fair and Balanced all the way.

I wonder how much commercial revenue they had to forego over this. Not an Ebbers size misappropriation, but that is a big writeoff over a political statement. Wonder if there are any SEC rules on that kind of thing.
posted by jester69 at 8:56 PM on April 30, 2004


With the ending statement Koppel just made, Sinclair, and the people claiming Nightline had an agenda, look even stupider than they did when they first opened their mouths in the first place.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:11 PM on April 30, 2004


Sinclair's Cynical Agenda

While Sinclair claims it is pre-empting Nightline because it is an attempt to "influence public opinion," the record shows that Sinclair media has repeatedly leveraged its control over the airwaves to manipulate public opinion in favor of President Bush's right-wing agenda...

In a controversial business practice, Sinclair Broadcasting has fired much of the staff for the local affiliates it owns, instead producing content for its local stations from a central facility outside Baltimore which it then airs on "local" news broadcasts. The centralized content features nightly commentary by Sinclair corporate communications chief Mark Hyman. Hyman regularly refers to the French as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys," the so-called liberal media as the "hate-America crowd," and progressives as "the lonely left" On one recent commentary, Hyman called members of Congress who voted against a recent resolution affirming the righteousness of the Iraq war "unpatriotic politicians who hate our military."


Wave that flag, angry Pollyannas. We know you'd volunteer if there was a draft, just like Cheney.
posted by y2karl at 10:23 PM on April 30, 2004


Soldiers Honored, Soldiers Dishonored

By any measure, World War II was colossal. Sixteen million Americans served in a vast and savage showdown that obliterated 50 million people. It was also the last war that Americans agreed was necessary and noble. Later conflicts were smaller but more controversial. Yet the desire to honor the fallen has always been the same. Just to the west of the new memorial, visitors can touch the engraved names of each of the dead in the Vietnam War. And television beams color photos of those killed in Iraq.

That yearning to give military casualties the honor of an individual remembrance is ingrained in the modern national fabric. So it was shocking when the Sinclair Broadcast Group announced it would censor the ABC News program "Nightline" last night, when Ted Koppel read the names of the dead in the Iraq war. The company refused to broadcast the program in eight cities where it owns ABC affiliates, claiming that Mr. Koppel has an antiwar agenda. But local stations in six of those cities chose to run the program anyway when ABC made it available. (Sinclair's vice president, Mark Hyman, is a conservative commentator who produces "positive" stories about Iraq.)

The suggestion that it is biased to pause and particularize each of the latest war dead seems especially dishonorable when one visits the new memorial to the old war. There, the timeless implications of self-sacrifice include a quotation from Adm. Chester Nimitz: "Now they sleep side by side. To them we have a solemn obligation."

posted by y2karl at 10:54 PM on April 30, 2004


y2karl - daily: for a better america. a better world, and a better tomorrow. amen.
posted by specialk420 at 12:19 AM on May 1, 2004


While we're cut and pasting others' comments:

In the nation's capital, about five minutes into it, there were a few modem-noises and then a crawl across the top of the screen with a message about some sort of weekly scheduled test.

Then we went to the first commecial break about eight minutes into the recitation.

One of the ads was for a liquidation sale of $3 million worth of merchandise.

Fortunately, I can touchtype, or I wouldn't be able to follwo the names and faces, which are flying across the screen in what is just an appallingly too rapid rate.

These are the dead. They deserve to not be raced through the listing. There's a pace to memorials. And this is about as dignified as asking the bride to hitch up her dress and race up the aisle.

Oooh, an ad for discount mattresses and we're back.

Who the hell signed off on these ads? Discount mattresses? Is there no grou pof products that would have at least have been a little more dignified?

Another commercial break. Golf tournament ad. Two chipper morning program talking heads for Good Morning Washington.

And we're back.

A few of the dead have no photo, and instead are represented by a shot of flag-drapped coffins. I'm kind of surprised that the military couldn't provide photos.


Now it appeared that ABC had preempted the national commercials, but didn't have the authority to preempt the local commercials. Here in LA KABC ran some car commercials, but no promos. It appeared that the anchors were clueless in the evening toss about the controversy and just laughed it up as usual in the final segment.

I have to agree, though, that Ted did go WAY too fast, although it seemed the pace moderated towards the end (or maybe I got used to the pace). When I was reading September 11 victims' names, we would go at a third of this blistering pace. Perhaps it would have been more appropriate to read the names on Memorial Day. About the same number of people would have watched (I mean, who watches Nightline on a Friday night???) and the network could have preempted Kimmel, which would have been in reruns anyway, and be given 90 minutes to read the names at a more diginified pace. If you are reading the names like you would those from the white pages, then you might as well not do it at all.
posted by calwatch at 12:21 AM on May 1, 2004


At least he's informative.

You must be fucking kidding. He's not informative, the writers are informative, the fucking news is informative. What are you telling me, you can't read the news on your own? You ever notice how everybody else provides links with comments in their comments? The closest this monkey ever comes to commenting on his hatchet jobs is "Hearts and Minds 2.0" and "Hey, what happened to hearts and minds" and "Have I mentioned lately that I want to suck Juan Cole's cock?" And a link isn't good enough, we need the entire article regurgitated inside the thread. This is what Metafilter is for, cutting and pasting NY Times articles ad infinitum? Sorry, I wasn't aware.

By the way, karl, your little rant contradicts itself in the very first paragraph (what a surprise). "Angry pollyannas won't let me, not that I care what angry pollyannas think." Brilliant strategist, aren't ya, little crybaby. No wonder all you can do is bobble at other people's ideas. Carry on, oh smiling bobblehead with nothing else in his life (or his head). Your public apparently loves you, with cries of "y2karl cuts and pastes the best! Nobody can do the mindless work a babboon could do like our boy karl!" Monkey shine, monkey shine, bobble away.

Let's try to get back to the topic.

I'm sorry, that program was god-awful, no dignity, no class, no respect.

"But we felt that the impact would actually be greater on a day when the entire nation is not focused on war dead," Koppel said.

"Memorial Day doesn't fall in sweeps, either, but that was a non-issue. We honestly don't even know when sweeps are, we swear!" Please. Tell me you guys aren't this gullible. Lies don't get much more obvious than that. I stand by my earlier statement regarding anyone who works in television. You show me a network employee who doesn't know when sweeps are and I'll show you someone who's about to get fired.
posted by David Dark at 1:49 AM on May 1, 2004


slightly on-topic, to respond to karl's bobblehead quote of which he understands very little:

The majority of combat deaths during the Vietnam War occurred from 1964 - 1972.
From 1964 to 1966, there were 3078 combat deaths;
in 1966 there were 5008;
in 1967 there were 9,378;
in 1968 there were 14,589;
in 1969, there were 9,414;
in 1970, there were 4,221;
in 1971, there were 1381;
in 1972, there were 300;
for a total of approximately 47,369.

Pulling out a two-week total from the end of the war where statistics are most favorable for your argument is what we like to call "shamelessly massaging the data," while shouting "Dead Other People's Children Total Exceeds All Previous!" is an untruth unequaled in its ignorance.

On second thought, don't comment, bobblehead. Your perspective-free ravings are better left without the erroneous footnotes.
posted by David Dark at 3:00 AM on May 1, 2004


A quarter of the casualties for this war happened this month. "Dead Other People's Children Total Exceeds All Previous!" is true, David--this is the worst month for the whole war, even with the, ahem, Major Combat Operations, which were declared by strutting flight suit boy president exactly one year ago, included. We could have reached a two week level of casualties for even earlier in the war in Viet Nam if we had gone into Falluja, which was your masturbatory fantasy of record. But scream on, lonely Pollyanna, if it makes you feel better. Like thus:

These radicals with guns will never allow a true democracy to form while they are allowed to roam free, so they must be dealt with first. And they will be, sooner or later. Then the Iraqis, not the thugs, will take control of their country and establish their government. This is what America wants, and this is what the Iraqis want, as well. The majority is on the same team, in both countries.

Two quotes for Juan Cole:

Amazingly, 57% of Iraqis say that US troops should leave Iraq immediately. If one subtracted the Kurds, a much higher percentage of Arabic speaking Iraqis say this. And, they say it with their eyes open. About 57% also admit that life would get harder (i.e. there would be a lot of instability) if the US suddenly withdrew. They want the US gone anyway, and will take their chances.

That's about the recent poll in Iraq. The next is about Abu Ghraib....

The sexual and physical abuse of Iraqi prisoners of war, a direct violation of the Geneva Conventions by US soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison, has naturally produced outrage in the Arab world. This is a big thing, folks. I saw the rightwing talking heads Friday evening trying to shrug off the photos and the incidents as minor affairs. They are not, in the world of public diplomacy. Can you imagine what the mood would be like in the United States if some foreign power had treated US POWs like this and then the photos came out?

...I really wonder whether, with the emergence of these photos, the game isn't over for the Americans in Iraq. Is it realistic, after the bloody siege of Fallujah and the Shiite uprising of early April, and in the wake of these revelations, to think that the US can still win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi Arab public?small>

Same team, huh? Give us that chicken little rant again, Pollyanna. Tell us how the silent Iraqi majority is on our side.

And, constantly screaming your little foam flecked personal insults is what Metafilter is for, David Dark? Sorry, we weren't aware.

posted by y2karl at 7:21 AM on May 1, 2004


I only caught part of it last night, but it was powerful. And the only ads i saw (WABC-NY) were from nonprofits (PSAs and announcements of Breast Cancer walks, etc), and news promos.

Things that struck me: the very large amount of dead hispanic kids, and that there were more people around my age (39) than i would have thought.
posted by amberglow at 7:31 AM on May 1, 2004


David Dark: it seems like you and I saw entirely different broadcasts. I watched just about the whole way through (I tuned in late and missed all but the last 5 seconds of Ted's intro, but I didn't miss any faces), and while it seemed a bit awkward at first, it really got to me.

There's a Jewish ritual -- actually, I don't even know for sure if it's done at other synagogues -- that this seem reminiscent of. At my synagogue, when it is time for the mourner's Kaddish, the Rabbi asks the congregation if there is anyone they know who needs health and healing. He starts looking at one side of the room, then slowly turns to face the other, and as his gaze reaches you you call out the name of anyone you know who is very sick or recovering from a serious illness.

Except these people don't need health or healing anymore.
posted by Ptrin at 8:13 AM on May 1, 2004


what I noticed amberglow was a large list of AMERICAN dead.
posted by clavdivs at 9:45 AM on May 1, 2004


Well, Ptrin, I guess it's that awkward bit that never really changed for me. Don't get me wrong, I think it was done the only way it could have been done on an hour-long program (except for not suspending ads -- that was just a poor programming choice). I do think it was powerful in the way that war memorials are always powerful -- a string of names can constitute an honoring and serve as a tribute to heroes, no doubt about it. But memorials shouldn't have to classify the dead, and leave names unread because of time constraints. The whole thing seemed rushed, and with the ads cutting in and out, it seemed. . . cheap.

Off topic: karl, wouldn't links regarding prisoner abuse go better in the "prisoner abuse" thread? Seriously, even monkeys can be trained to match things.

Also, if you need to drag comments around from thread to thread, maybe you need to make use of email, instead.

PS preview is your friend.

posted by David Dark at 9:58 AM on May 1, 2004


The whole thing seemed rushed

That actually added a bit of pathos I thought: look, Ted has to speed read because there are so many. And trying to fix on a face before it was gone and replaced by another underlined the whole sense of loss.

Amber, I'm about your age and I was freaked by how few were older than about 23.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:50 AM on May 1, 2004


Yes, David, good catch. Preview is my friend. It's baboon, by the way, not babboon.

Let's compare and contrast sentences now:

I'm sorry, that program was god-awful, no dignity, no class, no respect.

I do think it was powerful in the way that war memorials are always powerful -- a string of names can constitute an honoring and serve as a tribute to heroes, no doubt about it.

flip flop bobble bobble.
posted by y2karl at 11:19 AM on May 1, 2004


what I noticed amberglow was a large list of AMERICAN dead.
What was read and shown was a list of US Servicemembers dead. Some of them weren't Americans citizens (yet), and if you read my link, you'll see that targeting young Hispanic non-citizen residents, and giving them expedited citizenship for joining up has been a goal in the past few years. Certainly some of those named last night weren't citizens yet. (and that's not a value judgement or anything; just a fact)

Cunning, I didn't see it all, but i guess different things struck us all differently. I didn't expect to see many people 43, 41, 39, 36, etc so they stood out more for me. I totally agree about the "so many that they had to go quickly" (way too many imo).
posted by amberglow at 11:23 AM on May 1, 2004


Amber - the older guys were, I believe, mostly reservists with specialties in civil affairs and engineering and non-warlike stuff like that.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:56 AM on May 1, 2004


The NYT picked up on both:

The portraits were shown two at a time, just enough to register a name, an age, and shock at how young — and how old — some were.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:59 PM on May 1, 2004


You must be fucking kidding. He's not informative, the writers are informative, the fucking news is informative.

...and I get certain pieces of news via y2karl, so y2karl is also informative.

What are you telling me, you can't read the news on your own?

Not all of it, no. Do you have any idea how much information is out there? Are you telling me you read and process all of it, on your own, and have no need for any other input?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:03 PM on May 1, 2004


Regardless if you liked the pace or thought it poorly done (like me), memorials for the dead shouldn't be interrupted by a word from our sponsors. That was classless.

inpHilltr8r, as far as y2karl goes, yeah, I do pretty well without him. Most of his links aren't anything I haven't seen before or couldn't do without. But I'm not decrying his linkage; I'm fine with that. You can appreciate his links, sure, but do you not get annoyed by off-topic barrages and rows upon rows of text cut-and-pasted directly from the link itself without a fucking grain of comment on the content? I don't mind quoting a link if it adds to a comment; but quoting an entire article that you've alreadly linked to without including a single original thought is why I started calling him a bobblehead. He doesn't even understand the quip. I realize that his brain is likely mush after years and years of drug abuse, but the comments section of Metafilter used to be about what a person thought about the post, not an infantile contest of who can link to the most news stories within six degrees of likeness to the topic. And wading through it every other comment to find people with real ideas gets on my fucking nerves. /MeTa

y2karl, I never use spell check, sorry. But I always check the preview to make sure I didn't fuck up the tags. It's quick and easy. Your flip-flop idea is bogus, reading a list of the dead is always powerful, but can still be done in an undignified, classless, and disrespectful way.

So seriously, what do you gain by behaving like a complete jackass? Any fool can see that you're distorting ideas and taking things out of context, for no other reason than to satisfy some strange need to get the last word, even if those last words are "I'm really really stupid." I mean, aren't you like fifty something years old? Did your development completely grind to a halt when you were twelve, or what gives?

posted by David Dark at 7:41 PM on May 1, 2004


I'm not a dove, but I thought this war was a huge strategic mistake. I have not seen any evidence yet that I was wrong in that judgement. Seeing the program didn't change my mind on that one way or the other.

However, I did think the Nightline memorial was a good idea. I want to know about those who die while serving the country. To those who risk their lives in our name, recognition of their sacrifice is important. Recognition that they paid the ultimate price for us is the only thing we can give them after they are gone.

Those who would deny these men and women such recognition are the lowest sort of scoundrels.
posted by moonbiter at 8:00 PM on May 1, 2004


From Koppel's closing remarks Friday:
The reading tonight of those 721 names was neither intended to provoke opposition to the war, nor was it meant as an endorsement.

Some of you doubt that. You are convinced that I am opposed to the war.

I'm not; but that's beside the point. I am opposed to sustaining the illusion that war can be waged by the sacrifice of the few without burdening the rest of us in any way. I oppose the notion that to be at war is to forfeit the right to question, criticize, or debate our leaders' policies. Or, for that matter, the policies of those who would like to become our leaders.

"Nightline" will continue to do all of those things in the weeks and months to come. But not tonight. That is not what this broadcast was about.
posted by Vidiot at 8:45 PM on May 2, 2004


Just a few random points after being out of town and coming back to see what's up with this thread:

* It's probably already been linked somewhere above, but possibly one reason Nightline had to go so fast was they originally planned to do only the combat deaths, and were pressured to include non-combat as well - even with the added time it seems they had to cram a lot of names in there;

* As I understand it, ABC did not have the power or authority to block affiliates' ads, so the do-it-without-a-word-from-our-sponsors canard is somewhat off-base;

* Contrary to what DD says, y2karl rarely, if ever, pastes entire articles, but rather the portion(s) of each that he considers the most poignant and salient - that is, I think, a much classier form of commentary than slapping in a link (or none) and following it with a bunch of verbose spinning and/or name-calling (I must have missed that thread where y2karl expressed a desire to suck Juan Cole's cock, but like I said, I was out of town);

* "The dog who caught the car" is the best description I've heard so far of the situation the US finds itself in;

* Frankly, I also find Koppel's declaration that they didn't know when "sweeps" was suspicious, but to my mind it's irrelevant, since as nyoki pointed out it's (whoremonger) Sinclair who turned this into a front-page issue and a potential ratings-grabber. And even if we want to get exercised about the supposed cynicism of purposely naming the names of the dead during "sweeps," what is that compared to the cynicism of purposely sending all these people to their deaths for completely ficticious reasons?
posted by soyjoy at 8:46 PM on May 2, 2004


Vidiot, what is it with you and me? We should, like, call each other or something when we're about to post.
posted by soyjoy at 8:47 PM on May 2, 2004


Sybil, 'zat you?
posted by Vidiot at 9:23 PM on May 2, 2004


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