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FOX pre-empting Greenwald's "War Profiteering" meme?

Reported by Chrish - August 22, 2006 -

We've noted recently how FOX and the Republicans/White House will co-opt a Democratic / progressive talking point and, in some mutated fashion, make it their own, which methodically robs progressives of any talking points of their own. One noted example is the term "fascist" directed at this administration, co-opted and morphed into "Islamo-fascist" and repeated throughout the right-wing echo chamber. Another is the topic of systemic voter disenfranchisement and suppression by Republicans, transformed into the accusation of vote fraud by Democrats. Today 8/21/06 on The Factor we saw the shameless pre-emptive hijacking of "War profiteering", a not so subtle grab at a phrase sure to become infamous upon the release of Robert Greenwald's upcoming documentary "Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers."

Brave New Films sent out a letter today to supporters (and apparently detractors from FOX News) announcing that the film is finished. Lo and behold, the term "war profiteering" is a banner in a teaser for a later segment. Curiosity piqued, I awaited a scathing indictment of Halliburton, CACI, Service Corp International, any of the big profiteers who are raking in hundreds of millions in tax-payer funds from their chums in the Bush administration.

So who's this dude in the floppy hat walking a Flagstaff street with a FOX crew in hot pursuit? It seems Dan Frazier is selling tee shirts on a website that declare "Bush lied, they died" in big letters superimposed on a field of names of American troops killed in Iraq. The FOX crew peppered him with fair and balaced and unbiased questions:

"Don't you think it's shameful to be selling these tee shirts using the names of dead soldiers, without their families' permission?"
"A lot of people think this is really disgusting. How do you react to that?"
"I mean, these people aren't political victims. Why are you trying to exploit their sacrifice?"
"A lot of these family members are pretty upset. Don't you see you're just causing more pain?"
"You're a creative guy. Can't you figure out a different way to personalize the war?'
"How much money have you made, marketing death like this?"

After that, O'Reilly had as his guest Judy Vincent, whose son was killed in Iraq. She said she attempted to talk to Frazier twice, once getting no answer and once getting a busy. She didn't leave a message. O'Reilly breezily dismissed Frazier as "a fanatic, we know that" and coaxed some details from Ms. Vincent.

O'Reilly wanted to know how much the shirt cost. Vincent said it was recently going for $10 but the new batch is back up to the original $18. (Note: the "old" batch had 1,700 names on it. They were cleared out for the new batch, which has 2,500 names on it.) This image was shown and gives an idea of scale:

She brought her anger over the shirt to the Oklahoma State Legislature, and a bill was signed into law this past May that bans the sale (for profit) of items bearing the names of troops killed in combat without their family's permission. Louisiana has a similar law. O'Reilly acknowledged that it may be un-Constitutional on free speech grounds, they don't know yet, but still says they need to go federal with it. Vincent says her rep, Dan Boren, has introduced legislation in Washington.

O'Reilly then said "I'm not going to speak for Frazier...he could have spoken for himself...but I'm sure he would say 'Listen, I'm just doing this to save lives; I'm an anti-war guy. I want to save lives.' How would you answer that?" So, if someone refuses to answer your loaded questions for The No-Spin Zone you'll just make sh*t up and put words in his mouth. Hey, it's not the No-Sh*t Zone. Got it.

Vincent too acknowledges that Frazier's entitled to his opinion, but he doesn't need to use the fallen. Frazier has said it's a memorial, but Vincent doesn't think it's much of a memorial, putting her son's name on an $18 shirt.

In his own words (in part, from the website):

Of course, this product is not meant to be a statement on behalf of the families or the fallen soldiers. It is a statement on behalf of those who believe that this war was a tragic and terrible mistake -- and not an innocent mistake.

I should also like to point out that many of the soldiers who died in Iraq believed that they were fighting for democracy. Democracy is built in large part on freedom of speech. The First Amendment to the Constitution protects these products, and all such similar examples of free speech.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere condolences to all of those who have lost loved ones in this war. No matter what they believed, or which side they were on, those who died will be missed.

Comment: The reporter badgering Frazier (can you imagine, they searched behind the website to find the creator of a tee shirt and then went to his home and followed him around with a film crew! How creepy is that?) got it wrong - the fallen in Iraq ARE political victims. Rumsfeld shrugs them off, Bush ignores their funerals, and politicians nationwide are campaigning on the war. The neo-con foreign policy is what got her son sent to Iraq in the first place. And even if the grieving mom of a killed soldier objects to the tee shirt, Frazier still has the right to express himself in that way. It's supposedly what her son died for. She can object and speak out against him and boycott the site but sadly her son's name is now part of the public record.

For the record, my heart goes out to her. I can't say how I'd feel in that situation and it doesn't matter - she's entitled to her feelings. But Frazier is entitled to his anger too.

Notice how, with this segment, they've belittled the entire concept of war profiteering to an $18 tee shirt. Greenwald's movie will be hidden from blissfully ignorant FOX viewers yet with this pre-emptive strike if they should catch the phrase elsewhere, this is the first imprint.