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War as Entertainment

Reader comment on item: Television in Time of War

Submitted by Art (United States), Aug 2, 2005 at 18:43

Your decision not to engage in TV debates with motor-mouth jihadi ideologues is correct but for more reasons than you gave. The purpose of the debates, you imply, is to provide the TV viewer with information. But to appear alongside others who use lying and arrogant disruption as an acceptable form of rhetoric is obviously counter-productive.

The key reason to avoid such arenas is because to the hosts of these programs they are intended to be nothing more than entertainment for their audiences in order to generate revenue from their advertisers which will keep the show on the air.

The public debate format, especially during a time of war and especially with those representing the enemy philosophy, is to a TV producer no less than a modern-day coliseum using Daniel Pipes as a gladiator. They have no interest or gain from choosing sides, since that would undermine the assumed impartiality of the show. Hence, they will appear to remain unbiased regardless of any personal views the host may have. The goal is simply to keep the contestants fighting and the bloodier and noisier the better. It doesn't matter to them who wins, only that the verbal battle hold the interest of their audience. The debate format for TV is simply intellectual and verbal sport – or combat without the physical violence.

My own suggestion is to avoid feeding this greedy entertainment and infosport industry which, in any case, would cripple the significance and urgency of your messages. Keep using the internet and print media but try adding downloadable podcasts so we can hear your messages in your own words at any time and then forward your talks to other likeminded individuals.

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