During the Vietnam War some peace activists rejected and burned the American flag, embracing instead the flag of Vietnam's National Liberation Front fighting against the United States. When some U.S. peace activists traveled to Vietnam their Vietnamese hosts questioned their turning against their own flag as an unpatriotic blunder that allowed the Nixon government to make the American flag into a symbol of support for the war, marginalizing those who called for peace. Three decades later, will peace activists learn from past blunders and embrace the stars and stripes?
War / Peace
One sign of how different this "war on terrorism" is from previous U.S. wars is evident in the campus antiwar movement's use of the Internet. While they have so far received very little media coverage, already tens of thousands of young people in the U.S. are participating in vigils, rallies, fundraisers, teach-ins and other events that mourn the victims of terrorism while calling for military restraint and an examination of the role of the U.S. government itself in terrorism in the Middle East, Central America and elsewhere.
Author Normon Solomon warns that "more than ever, as journalists report for duty, the news profession is morphing into PR flackery for Uncle Sam. In effect, a lot of reporters are saluting the commander-in-chief and awaiting orders.
Coverage of the September 11th terrorist attack and the pending military response contains clamors for blind and immediate revenge.
In the wake of the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, the U.S. government is preparing for a new war. The Center for Public Integrity asks us to recall U.S. military actions of the 80s and 90s when the U.S. government imposed restrictions on news media. CPI examined the consequences of those impositions in a 1991 report, "Under Fire: U.S. Military Restrictions on the Media from Grenada to the Persian Gulf." The report concluded that "information about Defense Department activities . . .
The New York Times today reports that "in interviews with two dozen New Yorkers, most people said the desire for peace outweighed any impulse for vengeance, even among those directly affected" by the September 11 terrorist attack. Across the U.S. tens of thousands of Americans are already participating in peace rallies calling for military restraint and criticizing the U.S. media for poor reporting of U.S. military and foreign policies leading up to the terrorist attack. How will the news media cover and depict this unfolding peace movement and its views?
Boeing is using Interpublic's Powell Tate unit to build PR support for President Bush's missile defense system. Bush's request for $8.3 billion for missile defense was expected to be sliced due to the vanishing surplus, but now has gotten new life in aftermath of last week's terror attacks. This contradicts Kevin McCauley's prediction in last week's O'Dwyer's PR Daily. McCauley wrote that the terrorist attacks "killed Bush's missile defense program.
Common Dreams is one website providing an important alternative to mainstream TV coverage. TV commentators are increasingly fanning flames of war and rapid retaliation. "Americans are anxious to have some sort of retaliation take place," National Public Radio and FOX TV commentator Juan Williams stated today during FOX coverage featuring stirring music videos of Tuesday's attack set to patriotic songs.
During part of Friday, Spin of the Day provided a link to a story by Robert Scheer of the Los Angeles Times titled Bush's Faustian Deal with the Taliban. We have discovered, however, that Scheer's story was misleading and inaccurate. His story, written on May 22, 2001, reported that the Bush administration had given $43 million to the Taliban as "an ally in the drug war. ... The gift ... makes the U.S.
Now that President Bush has declared war in response to Tuesday's horrific act of terrorism, the often impressive reporting of the past few days by mainstream media could, as in previous wars, give way to a resonant drumbeat for revenge. Just when cautious response, political criticism, wise analysis, public education and more just international policies are most needed, diverse voices and opinions may be drowned out or declared un-American. Fortunately, unlike previous U.S.