[Videolib] Military Ads on Chanel One

Melissa Riley (mriley@sfpl.org)
Wed, 23 Feb 2005 09:30:58 -0800


>From: "U.S. Labor Against the War" <uslaw@igc.org>
>To: (Recipient list suppressed)
>Subject: [uslawaffiliates] MILITARY TV IN THE SCHOOLS
>Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2005 15:38:43 -0800
>Why Go to College, When You Can be Cannon Fodder?
>Do You Know What Your Kids Are Watching on "Educational" TV at School?
>"A parent who's too busy or doesn't realize the importance of tuning in to
>his or her child often expresses surprise when the child gets into trouble
>or drops out of school. The child knows, but can't explain, that those "bad
>kids" he or she hangs out with are alike a lifeline. This is the secret
>pullall the unpleasantness and risk in the world is worth the feeling of
>being seen and heard by someone."
>on Parenting: 10 Essential Principles that Will Transform Your Family
>I learned something new yesterday. Channel One News, the "educational" TV
>show that my daughter Isa and millions of other American kids watch every
>morning at school, is busy recruiting our teenagers into the military.
>"Mom, they're really aiming at the black kids, and the Hispanic kids too.
>I'm so sick of seeing those military ads everyday. "The Power of One", and
>all that lots of my friends are falling for it!"
>This is especially upsetting to Isa because several of her black friends,
>18, 19 and 20 years old, have been shipped to Iraq. Some were promised they
>wouldn't have to be in combat, but would be doing "mechanical work",
>"communications", or "wiring".
>It seems doubtful that, when push comes to shove, kids who've been promised
>such jobs will be allowed to avoid combat. One of her friends has already
>been shot "in an embarrassing place"; he's being treated overseas instead
>of the US so that he can be sent quickly back into combat in Iraq. Mr.
>Bush's military needs warm bodies, able or not.
>I stopped the car and asked, "Wait a minute. What do you mean when you say
>you're "seeing those military ads every day"?"
>"We have to watch this short thing every morning in homeroom called
>"Channel One News"," Isa explained with a weary tone. "It's educational,
>supposedly. You know, the day's news, so we'll be up on current events. But
>in between the stories, there are more and more ads for the Army and the
>I thought about "No Child Left Behind" and the malignant purpose behind
>that sweet-sounding act that Mr. Bush and his men (and at least one
>journalist paid $250,000 by the White House) have continuously promoted to
>trusting parents across the US. After catching my breath I asked,
>"Are you saying you're being recruited through the TV you watch during
>homeroom?" She nodded. I asked again, "What do your teachers think about
>this? What about Mr. Hitchens (not his real name), who told you privately
>that he's antiwar? Doesn't he say anything against it?"
>Persuaded Away from College, Towards the Military
>"No, I think the teachers and the kids are so used to it at my school that
>they don't even notice anymore. I mean, the other day I was walking to
>Sociology class and heard the ROTC instructor telling the kids, "Okay, this
>is how you hold your M-16". The whole culture of the school is military
>these days, so nobody notices anything unusual about this. And I think the
>few teachers who aren't prowar or proBush are afraid to get in trouble if
>they say anything that doesn't sound pro-military."
>As noted in my recent articles on military recruitment and the coming
>draft, for two years my daughter and I have been fighting the aggressive
>and often sneaky efforts of military recruiters to sign her up. Certainly
>they don't want her for her physical prowess-she weighs 98 pounds-so I can
>only assume they want her for other reasons. Either they've seen her high
>verbal scores, or they just want young bodies-even a tiny one-to serve as
>cannon fodder.
>With a military recruiter present every day in the cafeteria, military
>"speakers" visiting classrooms, and huge recruiting posters in the guidance
>office, perhaps it's not surprising that teachers and even guidance
>counselors have been influenced by the constant hum of "enlist, enlist,
>enlist". Students at Isa's school are told that, yes, they could consider
>college, but that it's "very expensive" and "may not guarantee you a job",
>while the military "will pay for college" and "practically guarantees
>you'll have a great career". Oh, and "a big cash bonus right now if you
>sign up today!"
>Joining the military is presented as the one and only path of honor,
>heroism, and service to one's country. Many students, not surprisingly,
>want to be heroes or get out of poverty, so they're signing up in droves.
>College recruiting is a rarity at this school, and at her previous school,
>as well. Ah, but military recruiters are constantly lurking around,
>spending quality time with fatherless boys, handing out materials, giving
>"aptitude tests" (played down as "just helping you figure out what you're
>really good at"), handing out Marine bumper stickers, and otherwise making
>their smartly-uniformed presence known.
>"It's just everywhere", Isa continued. "Here's an example: In gym we don't
>exercise or play sports like we used to do-now we "sound off", just like in
>the military, while running and doing jumping jacks, push-ups, and
>pull-ups. The freshmen are told to shout, "one, two!", then the sophomores
>are supposed to answer, "three, four!", and then the whole group of us has
>to say "Sound off!" I mean it's ridiculous Mom! How are you supposed to
>exercise while you're shouting at the top of your lungs?"
>As I started driving again, I took a moment to reflect on this "military
>culture" that's replacing the educational culture in America's public
>schools. Surely Channel One News, which parents and educators have
>criticized from the start as nothing more than a way to let corporations
>advertise their products directly to kids without their parents' knowledge,
>wouldn't go so far as to market the military to children as a (better, more
>heroic, more exciting) alternative to college? Surely they wouldn't
>override Mom and Dad by sneakily recruiting through "educational" TV at
>school? Would they? Could they?
>To be continued in, "Military Recruiting Commercials on "Educational" TV in
>Public Schools: Day after Day, Military Ads Target Children-Especially
>Hispanics and Blacks-On Channel One News in Schools Across the Nation"
>Dr. Teresa Whitehurst is a clinical psychologist and writer. Her most
>recent book describes the nonviolent guidance of
>on Parenting: 10 Essential Principles that Will Transform Your Family,
>Baker Books, 9/2004.
>You can contact her at
>Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
>PO Box 652
>Brunswick, ME 04011
>(207) 729-0517
>(207) 319-2017 (Cell phone)
><http://space4peace.blogspot.com>http://space4peace.blogspot.com (Our blog)

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