Friday, April 30, 2004

No Nightline Tonight?

Ted Koppel, the unpatriotic liberal television commentator has decided to read the names of men and women who have died in the Iraq war on Nightline. Immediately the Sinclair Broadcasting group decided not to air this reading of names on its television stations, because a) it isn't patriotic to do so and b) if these names are read, so should the names of those that died in the events on 9/11/2001.

Except of course that many of the names of the 9/11 victims were read in ABC news programs, and it's hard to see why honoring those who have made the utmost sacrifice for their country would be unpatriotic; rather the reverse. And ABC hasn't exactly stayed silent on various aspects of the Iraq war before now, so it can't be accused of not covering a variety of points of view.

No, the real reason for criticisms is the idea that reading the names of those who have died makes war sound a lot less fun and might even make some people more anti-war. THIS is what is now viewed as unpatriotic: any deviation from the policies of the Bush administration. THIS is what is now viewed as biased: showing both sides of an argument.

Yet, surely, one of the important aspects in judging the desirability of a war is the number of casualties it causes? If you are pro-war only because you are unaware of the true numbers of the dead and wounded, aren't your opinions then faulty? It is up to the administration to show us that the war is worth fighting despite the casualties it causes (including those affecting Iraqi civilians). It is not up to the administratrion or the media to censure the information available for American citizens about these casualties.

Or so an old-time traditional-values goddess would like to think.

P.S. About partiality, by the way: The Sinclair Broadcasting group is politically quite partisan itself. According to Common Cause:

What is also troubling is Sinclair's own record of partisanship. Since 1997 through the end of 2003, Sinclair and its executives and affiliates have given 100% of their political contributions exclusively to Republicans, more than $165,000 in total.