Credo Action

Tell traditional corporate media outlets: Stop glorifying war

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The petition to traditional corporate media outlets reads:

“Stop treating war as entertainment. Do your job and stop glorifying war and violence.”

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    Tell traditional corporate media outlets: Stop glorifying war

    “I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.”

    That is the Leonard Cohen quote that MSNBC’s Brian Williams used last week to wax poetic about Donald Trump’s decision to illegally drop dozens of Tomahawk missiles on Syria.1 He described the “beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments” that were emerging of the strike with reverence and awe, demonstrating the horrifying and dangerous attitude that traditional corporate media outlets too-often take when reporting on war.2

    War is not beautiful. Military action should be taken as a last resort and recognized for the sacrifice and loss that comes with it. It is a problem when the people and institutions tasked with keeping the general public informed of our actions in the world hide behind flowery language and lies to keep from having to report on the reality of war.

    Media outlets have a huge amount of power and dictate the information, ideas and perspectives that the majority of Americans have access to. When they sensationalize and praise military actions taken by a man with no strategy and no foreign policy experience, they are normalizing whim-based bomb dropping. With the power to reach and inform millions of Americans every day we have to hold the media accountable for providing balanced, accurate information on the consequences of Trump’s warmongering.

    Tell traditional corporate mediate outlets: Stop treating war as entertainment. Report on military action responsibly.

    Williams was not the only news anchor and reporter to shower praise on Donald Trump for dropping Tomahawk missiles and the “mother-of-all-bombs” on Syria and Afghanistan, respectively. MSNBC’s Kristen Welker said the strike was an example of Trump “turning the page” on the “rocky” beginning of his presidency.3 CNN’s Fareed Zakaria said “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States last night [by ordering the Syrian missile strikes].”4 Mark Landler from The New York Times published an article after the Syria strike that painted a picture of an emotionally raw Trump deciding to launch missiles out of concern for the Syrian people after seeing images of Assad’s brutal chemical attack. “It was an emotional act by a man suddenly aware that the world’s problems were now his,” he wrote.5

    Dropping bombs and ordering missile strikes does not make one presidential. As iconic news anchor Dan Rather said:

    “It's easy to drop bombs and easy to put missiles off. What comes after that, dealing with what comes in the wake of that, is much more difficult.”6

    It is wildly irresponsible for traditional corporate media outlets to treat illegal acts of war as personal interest stories. By centering Trump’s image and feelings, the media is ignoring the need for balanced and comprehensive coverage of war acts and what they mean for our country, our soldiers and the rest of the world.

    For too long, the media has worked to maintain national consensus7 over encouraging national debate and has prioritized the “theatre of war.” They have prioritized getting good ratings over challenging presidential administrations and holding them accountable when they engage our nation in international conflict. We saw it in the run-up to and throughout the Iraq War8 and we’re seeing it again now. But with a so called president as reckless as Trump, things can’t be business-as-usual.

    Tell traditional corporate media outlets: Stop treating war as entertainment. Report on military action responsibly.

    Traditional corporate media outlets like MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times and others cannot keep treating war as entertainment. When they focus on sensationalism and the emotional experience of the president, they do a disservice to their viewers and to the country.

    Major media platforms rely on advertising, which requires them to maintain large audiences. By showing MSNBC, CNN and The New York Times that the public wants honest, sober reporting on Trump’s illegal acts of war, we can build pressure on them to stop treating war as entertainment and provide the fact-based reporting and analysis the American people deserve.

    Tell traditional corporate media outlets: Stop treating war as entertainment. Report on military action responsibly.

    Thank you for your activism.

    References:
    1. Lee Moran, “Brian Williams Gets Heat For Using Leonard Cohen Lyric To Describe U.S. Airstrikes,” The Huffington Post, April 7, 2017.
    2. Ibid. 3. Jared Holt, “Media Praise Trump For Ordering Missile Attack On Syrian Airbase,” Media Matters for America, April 7, 2017.
    4. Ibid.
    5. Ibid.
    6. “Dan Rather Condemns Media Calling Trump "Presidential" For "Dropping Bombs" And "Having Missile Strikes",” Media Matters for America, April 16, 2017.
    7. Gary Kamiya, “Iraq: Why the media failed,” Salon, April 10, 2007.
    8. Ibid.