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Broadcast Consultants Say Support the War

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Media consultants are encouraging radio and TV stations to concentrate on patriotism and support of the troops. Dissent doesn’t sell:

    Now, apparently, is the time for all good radio and TV stations to come to the aid of their country’s war.

    That is the message pushed by broadcast news consultants, who’ve been advising news and talk stations across the nation to wave the flag and downplay protest against the war.

    “Get the following production pieces in the studio NOW: . . . Patriotic music that makes you cry, salute, get cold chills! Go for the emotion,” advised McVay Media, a Cleveland-based consultant, in a “War Manual” memo to its station clients. “. . . Air the National Anthem at a specified time each day as long as the USA is at war.”

    The company, which describes itself as the largest radio consultant in the world, also has been counseling talk show stations to “Make sure your hosts aren’t ‘over the top.’ Polarizing discussions are shaky ground. This is not the time to take cheap shots to get reaction . . . not when our young men and women are ‘in harm’s way.’ ”

    The influential television-news consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates recently put it in even starker terms: Covering war protests may be harmful to a station’s bottom line.

    In a survey released last week on the eve of war, the firm found that war protests were the topic that tested lowest among 6,400 viewers across the nation. Magid said only 14 percent of respondents said TV news wasn’t paying enough attention to “anti-war demonstrations and peace activities”; just 13 percent thought that in the event of war, the news should pay more attention to dissent. [Washington Post]

I happen to be pro-war, but I don’t want media content decisions regarding the NEWS to be based upon opinion polls. I also don’t want music programming decisions based upon political considerations – I want radio to play the best songs. Commercial radio has been reduced to tight, highly-consulted playlists already, we don’t need the music further narrowed by political considerations. If an anti-war or pro-peace song is a good song and it fits your format, then play it.

And news is news: I trust journalists to make up on their own minds on what constitutes “news” – both dissent and assent are news, cover them both.

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.
  • Gee, and to think people here at Blogcritics have been saying I’m full of crap for criticizing the media for being pro-war.

    Still, the argument that none of this matters will still be promoted, no doubt. The media marches in lock-step with the government, downplaying confirmed lies and playing up the hooray-for-war sentiment. But it doesn’t matter. It has nothing to do with U.S. public support for the war. Nothing at all.

    The problem isn’t just in the broadcast media, either. On March 22, about twenty thousand people demonstrated outside the CNN building here in L.A. to protest the marginalization of anti-war sentiment in the U.S. Want to know where the Los Angeles Times put the story?


    20,000 people. No picture. No story. No blurb.

    20,000 people.

  • san

    Eventually this war will resolve to a mere footnote in the public consciousness, yet the philosophy of corporate — and government — censorship and dezinformatsiya will forever mar the great American experiment. I wonder if we can someday restore the finish on this tarnished instrument.

    On the same note, CNN has begun obscuring the faces of Iraqi POWs in their broadcasts. Until recently, they broadcast footage of Iraqi POWs without modification, faces and all. One can only suspect that they have changed their policy in order to support the Bush administration’s claims that Iraqi TV is violating the Geneva Conventions, while we are not.

  • Strange, very strange. I always got the impression that the American where afraid of communism as the big Boogeyman. But making the media a dog of the politics doesn’t seem to be a problem. This isn’t in the mind of democracy and it it surely doesn’t go with “free speech”. I grew up in a communist country, where the media was just a vessel for the political course. The media in the US is walking a thin line at the moment… I don’t say the US will turn in a communist country – no way. However it seems that the foundation on which the US was once founded (all the pretty amendments) are turned and twisted till they fit.

  • san

    Michelle, I think it is indeed our national fear of other cultural, political and economic systems that have driven us, as a people, to this sorry state of affairs. Fear often causes people to take actions with results far worse than the thing they feared in the first place.

    I agree that it’s inconceivable that the US will ever adopt a communist economic system, but it’s entirely possible that we could mutate into a corporate oligarchy with fascist tendencies. Indeed, it’s possible for a duly elected government to become fascist. Some would argue that a fascist democracy wouldn’t last for long, as elections would allow for the removal of the offending leaders. But I disagree. As long as the leaders manage to sweep the electorate along with them — by fear, intimidation, manipulation, whatever means necessary — a fascist regime or its progeny can remain in power indefinitely.

  • Thanks that you are saying that;-) As the German that I am it would be totally inappropriate to call someone else fascist. But it’s true that a German politician drew the comparison which caused an outcry in the nation. We have been raised with our history always in mind, therefore we’re also quite uncomfortable with the American patriotism. It’s a sentiment that would never cross a German’s mind, because we are taught to be ashamed of our country.

  • InMarin

    God bless the USA…and no one else!

  • And exactly this could be the reason why half of the world thinks the Americans are arrogant, self-centered, ignorant bastards. No offence.