Thursday, August 05, 2004


Finally a “Point” we can get behind! The latest editorial from Mark Hyman & Co. congratulated the Coast Guard on the anniversary of their formation. The Coast Guard is often overlooked as a key part of America’s defense, and many are unaware of the organization’s long history or its many contributions to America in times of war and peace. They certainly deserve recognition.

In the course of praising the Coast Guard, however, Hyman draws a parallel between the “War on Terror” and other, conventional wars. This highlights the dangers of using the “war” metaphor in the struggle against terrorism. As many have pointed out, declaring war on a noun is problematic. Can such a war ever be declared to be won? And although the events of 9/11 certainly refocused the United States on the dangers of terrorism, have we ever not been at “war” with terror, both domestic and foreign? Wars are fought against specific governments and countries. They generally have fairly specific beginning points and ending points. Calling the fight against terror a “war” invites the sort of ongoing, never ending war-as-political-tool that Orwell described in his novel 1984.

More specifically, however, The Counterpoint wonders why Sinclair Broadcasting (the authors of “The Point”) honors our troops sometimes and refuses to do so at others. Hyman often gives “shout outs” to various branches of the armed services, suggesting an allegiance to and solidarity with America’s fighting men and women.

But when Sinclair had the chance to actually honor the specific men and women who gave their lives to their country in Iraq, they refused, not allowing their ABC affiliates to run “The Fallen,” an episode of Nightline that read the names and showed photos of all the Americans who have died in the Iraq conflict. Even 80% of Sinclair’s own viewers, according to a poll on the company’s own website, believed this decision was a mistake. John McCain, veteran and war hero (and not exactly a big liberal) wrote a scathing letter to Sinclair protesting their decision. (See the text of McCain’s letter here).

Apparently, Sinclair likes to pay lip service to our troops when the company can bask in their reflected glory, but if doing something concrete for the troops seems like it doesn’t toe the Bush administration’s line that everything is hunky dory in Iraq, Sinclair’s all too willing to turn their back on them. Remind us again, Mark: who’s the flip flopper? We’re just wondering . . .

And that’s The Counterpoint


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