New York

The Campaign Enters Its Prime Time


Anti-Kerry documentary will blitz millions of TV viewers, thanks to Bush pals

As George W. Bush and John Kerry continue to argue down the home stretch, the propaganda is simply gushing — it’s a beautiful sight if you’re an oilman. It’s agit-prop for the Chief Prop.

The country’s largest chain of TV stations — it reaches 24 percent of the population, including several swing states — will preempt regular programming to show the anti-Kerry “documentary” Stolen Honor, which accuses Kerry of betraying American prisoners during the Vietnam War, The Washington Post reports this morning.

The major networks had already rejected the piece, but Sinclair’s top execs are “strong financial supporters of Bush’s campaign,” the Post‘s Paul Farhi writes.

Meanwhile, if you’re a dude with a sign that says “No War for Oil,” you face arrest. Check out Jonathan M. Katz‘s Slate story, “Thou Dost Protest Too Much: An Old Law Turns Protesters Into Threats Against President.” Katz, writing in late September, recites a litany of repression by authorities, like removing people wearing anti-Bush T-shirts from crowds.

One thing that won’t even be mentioned in the campaign home stretch, of course, is the continuing tragic and deadly battle between Jews and Arabs in Israel. Why should it even come up? It’s only the key to peace in the Middle East, as numerous sober commentators have pointed out.

Go back to this Bush Beat item about General Tony Zinni. If you’ve seen it, read Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery‘s current piece about Ariel Sharon‘s own brand of propaganda, “Don’t Believe a Word.” Avnery rips the covers off Sharon’s “unilateral disengagement” in Gaza, saying that it’s “really a right-wing plan for annexing most of the West Bank, burying the peace process, and deceiving public opinion in Israel and abroad.”

Avnery says he’s more convinced than ever that that’s the case, now that Sharon confidant Dov Weisglass (the Israeli prime minister’s version of Karl Rove) has basically confirmed it. As Avnery put it:

In an interview with Haaretz, [Weisglass] stated that the sole aim of the plan was to “freeze” the peace process. The real purpose of the “disengagement” is to block negotiations with the Palestinians for dozens of years and to prevent any discussion about the West Bank, while at the same time extending the Israeli settlements in a way that will put an end to any possibility of a future Palestinian state.

In the meantime, life in Israel — for Arabs and Jews — is hell. There’s a blazing TV documentary series, Eye on Palestine, that’s now airing in the Arab world, portraying how everyday life for Palestinians is crushing and humiliating and dangerous. Forget American TV “reality” shows. This is reality, tracking the normal lives of ordinary Palestinians. Read Palestinian activist Daoud Kuttab‘s smart piece on the TV series — it also includes lots of background for ignorant Westerners — here on Beirut’s Daily Star site.

While you in America are bombarded with Vietnam bullshit, you won’t see or hear anything in the next few weeks about John Ashcroft‘s disgraceful and unconstitutional roundup of Muslims right here in the U.S.A. — another black mark against the Bush regime.

The Sinclair chain of TV stations won’t be running Persons of Interest, a real documentary that peers into that frightening idiocy. (I reviewed that film in the Voice; read it here.)

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 11, 2004

Archive Highlights