The Fox Television Network series “24” is an incredibly brazen example of the ultra-right-wing’s use of that medium to spread fear to win support for its political agenda and for President Bush.
In its four-hour, two-night season debut we witness suicide bombers killing 900 people in San Antonio and 10 other U.S. cities, including Los Angeles. We hear a “newscaster” exhorting viewers to comply with a Department of Homeland Security request that they “watch everything going on,” and “report anyone or anything that seems even remotely suspicious.”
“It is better in this emergency to err on the side of safety,” the newscaster suggests, than to worry about civil liberties.
Elsewhere in the show, the viewer sees the use of a crowded bus in a suicide bomb attack and a nuclear explosion in another U.S. city.
It is no accident that this program airs just when Bush announced on television that we need more troops to keep the “war on terror” in Iraq and off our streets. It is no accident that Vice President Dick Cheney described the series “24” as his “favorite” television show. It is no accident that the right-wing web site Newsbusters.Org says “24” is required viewing.
It is no accident that “24” is being televised when Bush’s domestic and foreign policy agenda, and the ultra-right, are being rejected by the vast majority in the U.S.
Fear-mongering, á la “24,” is just what the Bush program requires as it tries now to salvage itself.
The Fox-Bush love fest gets bigger and better. Longtime Fox commentator Tony Snow has already graduated to the job of open mouthpiece for the Bush administration, and the network he purportedly left behind has continued to support Bush and the ultra-right propaganda machine.
MSNBC commentator Keith Oberman rightly described “24” as “naked brainwashing.”
All people of good will, of course, oppose terrorism. The Communist Party USA has often pointed out that terrorism substitutes individual acts of violence for the mass action essential for real progressive change.
What “24” attempts to conceal is that Bush and the far right, of which he is a part, have been the biggest terrorists, even while he promotes his global agenda.
The Bush administration’s killing of perhaps 600,000 Iraqi civilians is just as much a part of terrorism as an individual act of violence is. The CIA’s role in promoting Osama bin Laden as a tool against socialism in Afghanistan in the 1980s was also terrorism, as was the CIA’s covert support for vicious dictatorships around the world.
Bush and the ultra-right justify aggression and interference in many countries by claiming they are spreading “democracy” and therefore “peace.” People with common sense know that no country can determine what constitutes freedom for another country. People with common sense are increasingly figuring out that the freedom Bush is spreading with his terrorist tactics is the freedom of big business to do whatever it wants, wherever it wants, whenever it wants.
Terrorism is a political tactic that should indeed cause all of us great concern. Unfortunately, “24” is an attempt to use fear, propaganda and lies to conceal the real perpetrators of terror, the ultra-right and George W. Bush.