"Nothing engorges the cable news id quite like a war waged by the United States," he begins, citing Wolf Blitzer and Brian Williams as two of the most war-happy anchormen.
Thank you, Jack, for pinpointing the unease many of us feel as CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and others discuss and replay the "beautiful" Tomahawk missile tapes again and again. Of course, a war increases viewers and thus adds to revenue for these news stations.
The cable channels dress the conflict in snappy graphics and arresting logos, and they make the best of the limited footage they’ve collected to tell the story. Playing on an almost endless loop on all of the channels Friday night was that Pentagon-supplied video of Tomahawks corkscrewing into the night sky suddenly made bright by their tails of fire. MSNBC’s Brian Williams spoke for all of TVland on Thursday night as he said, “We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean.
We are conditioned to like missiles and their "bright... tails of fire" when we display and applaud fireworks on the Fourth of July.
I don't like fireworks, however, ever since July 3, 1988, when missiles from the USS Vincennes killed 290 people on an Iranian passenger plane.
I would not describe a speeding missile as beautiful. Only little boys who grew up loving war stories and footage could look at the streak in the sky and think of beauty, not of lives about to be ended.
See my comments in 1988 in Sojourners Magazine: