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CBS; Playing to The Peoples Fear?

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In this time of political turmoil, with the far-right using fear as a weapon, and tax cuts as bait to attract voters, it's amazing how television shows are accepting the neocon message. I want to take a moment to tell you about a few things that I saw on the tube this week that actually make me wonder how far along the path of totalitarianism we have wandered.

On the show NCIS, a character that plays Jethro's (Mark Harmon) old supervisor/partner from days past, has the bad guy/arms dealer in his Glock's sights, his hands in the air. The criminal is surrendering because he 's been caught by the "good" guys; the US Navy's Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Instead of taking the criminal into custody and trying the man in a court of law, the former NCIS agent shoots him in the chest at point blank range, executing him. The main Character "Jethro" has a puzzled look on his face, and his old partner explains to him that he "won't have a problem sleeping" because this was a "bad" guy and the evidence was not sufficient to get a conviction. It seems that everyone, including the network that aired the show, is all right with this.

I'm not all right with this. I know it's a TV show and it's not "real", but the situations that they portray on the show have certain realism connected with it. They show terrorists, al-Quida and others, and also real life situations. This "summary execution" by a government agency was carried out because the agency had "flimsy" evidence. I think that watching a government agent execute someone, falls right into the scenario that this administration is advancing. They have thrown out Habeus Corpus, and the right of a suspected terrorist to a trial by jury, so I guess that "executing" arms dealers by government agencies is ok too. Maybe it is a way to get citizen's inured to summary executions by government agents. I guess the days of bringing a lawbreaker to trial are over. Just execute him on the street, it save the people the cost of a trial.

Two other shows on TV that has me a little concerned, are "The Unit" and "Jericho". The first show "The Unit" I absolutely refuse to watch. I watched a few, but in one episode "The Unit" had disrupted a terror cell overseas and killed some of their people. When they returned back home to their wives and families, they took their wives to a club, I believer it was on-base, for a unit party. They were formally dressed and they had a very emotional salute to the job of "The Unit". Then, out of nowhere, Arab terrorists run into the place with automatic weapons and start firing. The men shove their wives down, and from under their formal jackets they bring out the hardware and fire back, killing all the terrorists, and keeping America safe for democracy. I have a problem with that also. How did these guys get from Iraq or Islamabad or wherever they came from, board airplanes, get off without getting spotted, buy AK-47's, and get on base and to that party? Do you follow me? It offended my intelligence. I guess this is a way to show Americans that "If we don't stop them over there, we'll have to fight them over here, on American soil". What a load of crap. Is this how the Republicans think they are going to win the election, by scaring people to death, that don't really think about the improbability of what they are watching?

The last show is "Jericho". A small town sees a nuke in the distance and knows that Denver has been hit. They have no idea of what else is going on. People are thinking that al-queada has declared war, or the North Koreans, or Russia. Nobody knows. This is an all white town with only one black family. This isn't the bad part, the bad part is that the black guy is cast as a villain or spy or an undercover operative of some kind. So far it's not the role of a good guy. He is secretive and "acts" guilty. He might turn out to be a hero, but for now he looks dangerous. I wonder about the timing of this show coming on before the elections and also racheting up the fear level of the public a notch with this nuclear scenario. I personally think that this isn't a good time to air this show. Hey, maybe I'm wrong.

These shows are all on CBS. I admire CBS for coming out with some great programming in the last few years. I miss "Commander-in-Chief" with Geena Davis, but I guess they canceled it.I think that was CBS, maybe I'm mistaken. What I don't like is the way that they play to the far-right party line in "The Unit" and the execution without trial that they portrayed on "NCIS". Some people watch these shows and actually form their opinion on world events by what they see on TV. Seeing Army Rangers sneaking into sovereign nations and stealing cars and blowing things up might really happen, but it shouldn't be shown on TV as a commonplace thing. This is why they are called covert missions. I believe that this show takes it's lead from the Cheney-Rumsfeld "How to Spread Fear" handbook. CBS should know better, because many of the people watching don't.



Former Chairman of the Liberal Party of America, Tim is a retired Army Sergeant. He currently lives in South Carolina. A regular contributor to OpEdNews, he is the author of Kimchee Days (or Stoned Cold Warriors).

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Commander-in-Chief was ABC. Hollywood is a prosti... by Amanda Lang on Thursday, Oct 12, 2006 at 12:55:59 PM