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Hart writes: "Does that kind of thing actually happen? Well, yeah."

Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro direct a fake war from a news control-room in a scene from 'Wag the Dog', released in 1998. (photo: New Line Cinema)
Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro direct a fake war from a news control-room in a scene from 'Wag the Dog', released in 1998. (photo: New Line Cinema)

Do TV Networks 'Practice' for War?

Peter Hart, FAIR

16 February 12


lexander Cockburn's latest piece at CounterPunch (2/10/12) included this from a tipster:

I was visiting ABC News the other day to see a friend who works on graphics. When I went to his room, he showed me all the graphics he was making in anticipation of the Israeli attack on Iran; not just maps, but flight patterns, trajectories and 3-D models of U.S. aircraft carrier fleets.

But what was most disturbing - was that ABC, and presumably other networks, have been rehearsing these scenarios for over two weeks, with newscasters and retired generals in front of maps talking about missiles and delivery systems, and at their newsdesks-–the screens are emblazoned with "This Is a Drill" to assure they don't go out on air (like War of the Worlds).

Then reports of counter-attacks by Hezbollah in Lebanon with rockets on Israeli cities - it was mind-numbing. Very disturbing - when pre-visualization becomes real.

Does that kind of thing actually happen? Well, yeah.

CBS "practiced" covering a U.S. bombing of Iraq back in 1998 - and the footage was apparently fed to a satellite (L.A. Times, 2/20/98):

CBS jumped the gun Friday on a possible U.S. attack on Iraq: The network inadvertently transmitted a practice news report via satellite that could be picked up by television stations and viewers with special equipment.

To try out new graphics for combat coverage in the event the U.S. goes forward with the threatened bombing of Iraq, CBS anchor Dan Rather was rehearsing with Pentagon correspondent David Martin over a closed line between CBS's New York headquarters and its Washington news bureau. The report was mistakenly sent up to a communications satellite. your social media marketing partner


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+6 # Capn Canard 2012-02-16 16:29
d'uh: YES, of course they do.
+6 # cordleycoit 2012-02-16 23:50
Ever stop and thought this has been an on going carny? The people who own the world are laughing "Time time for another little War..." Warren Zevon got it right. We are ruled by very sick people.
Haveen't we given enough.Look at what war does to decent humans and the chicken Hawks are circling buzzard like ready to kill from the safety of a small dark room. End the War now just say: No.
+5 # SenorN 2012-02-17 00:22
Be careful what you dream, fantasies have a way of becoming realities...
+2 # ericlipps 2012-02-17 11:52
Quoting SenorN:
Be careful what you dream, fantasies have a way of becoming realities...

In this case, that's the idea.
+3 # grouchy 2012-02-17 01:11
Well, it seems to me it sure means job security for them any way it plays out!
+2 # futhark 2012-02-17 03:05
CNN especially is possibly the most effective pro-war propaganda machine since Josef Goebbels terminated his corporeal existence. At least the Nazis were honest enough to call it propaganda (and also "public enlightenment") . Our media just call it "news".

One of my not so academically talented high school students told me a very wise thing once years ago: "Hate comes from hurt." The mainstream media keeps up a constant drumbeat of hate to perpetuate the hurting in a vicious cycle that only serves the weapons manufacturers and other exploitive economic interests.
+6 # erogers 2012-02-17 08:22
This is not about giving detailed and correct news reporting on a war. This is about ratings once the war begins. Gives one an idea of just how shallow actual reporting is.
+4 # jayjay 2012-02-17 11:00
Yes indeedy, the corporate news media whores are readying their networks to sell war ( and ads) as we speak. The only TRUE source of news today in America is Amy Goodman's Democracy Now. If you aren't already listening or watching her daily news porgram, shame on you. Just go to DemocracyNow.or g to identify the best way to get her show. As an example of her work, when the U.S. invaded Iraq and the bombs and missiles were falling on Baghdad, while all the so-called news networks were broadcasting out of Kuwait or interviewing their ex-Pentagon shills in the studio,, Amy had us in the middle of the action, with live reports from the Iraqi capital itself .She is indeed a national treasure and should be supported by us all, as there is no corporate money (you know, ads and such), funding her program.
+1 # LML 2012-02-17 20:51
I was out of the country from 1963 until mid-65, and what really struck me when I got back to the states was the number of TV programs devoted to war-like themes (e.g. TV program where misfit in army platoon throws himself on live granade & is blown to smithereens to save all those buddies who didn't like him previously but who now recognize the true worth of this hero....) Vietnam war was soon to become front page news, but in the run-up the TV stations were getting their audiences ready for it.... I didn't remember TV being filled with pro-war programming like this when I left the US in mid-1963
0 # futhark 2012-02-18 04:33
Rick Jason and Vic Morrow spent far longer fighting Germans across northern France in "Combat" than it really took the Allied troops to defeat the real Germans between D-day and VE day. Of course, in "Combat" the casualty rate among the Germans was far higher than with members of the American platoon. It taught us kiddies that the Americans were always the "good guys" and that they were virtually immune from the risk of injury or death.
0 # Anarchist 23 2012-02-18 09:21
Hello from Hue Viet Nam and just returned from a visit to the DMZ and Khe Sanh. Do these generals actually know ANYTHING about war? If they had really looked at this country (Viet Nam) before embarcking on their 10 year long war they might have realized the sheer overwhelming stupidity of it. But no-so here we go again! To the cliff, Lemmings!!!!

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