Fun For the Paranoid: Homeland Security TV


That uncle of yours who drinks Jim Beam neat, doesn’t get out much, and watches the History Channel obsessively while cleaning his guns will be interested in the new Homeland Security Television Channel, “world’s first online, on-demand television network dedicated to homeland security and global development 24/7.” The channel debuted in 2005, but has now added “custom, affordable 24/7 Syndication Services” so you can skim around the offerings, as we did.

We saw an infomerical for Total Security Services International in Silver Springs, Maryland, which is holding a “table-top exercise” for security professionals. TSSI “is not a bunch of rookies,” says one testimonial-giver. “It’s not a bunch of greenhorns.” The head guy says a former director of FEMA will be there, as will a guy who’s worked for the FBI, the CIA, and Delta Force. Also a commercial that asks, “Become a first observer — because it is personal.”

There’s a show on “Winning Hearts and Minds in the War on Terror,” following the State Department’s public diplomacy efforts, which various experts describe as “botched” and a “failure,” partly because in some places where the U.S. is trying to influence public opinion “people are dying of thirst,” which is perceived as an impediment. There’s also a show following famous mob infiltrator Joseph D. Pistone called “Donnie Brasco 2.0: The Way of the White Collar Wiseguy.” Alas, the new mobsters Pistone covers “have shifted dramatically toward the virtual,” stock manipulation etc. So you see a lot more about Russians than Italian-Americans, and far more talking heads than Sopranos action. Also, “Ridge on Risk.”

But you will hear, here and in other programming, plenty of ominous music: the racing Jack Bauer sort, mysterious synthesizer bloops and bleeps, and sinister Arab themes. It’s TV for a.) serious global security professionals and b.) paranoiacs. You probably know more of the latter than the former. Tell them about this, and they will at least switch out of their camo and into suits and ties, and talk more about risk assessment than head shots.