Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Criticism of 24 Based on Disinformation (and Crappy Logic)

I'm going to go ahead and say this is one of the dumbest scare-mongering articles I've seen in a long while from the MSM (up there with killer bees and El Nino):

Nuclear Blast on TV's '24' Causes Fallout for Fox

"How much longer? I hear someone," says the nervous terrorist with a heavy Middle Eastern accent, just before U.S. agents storm a warehouse where a nuclear device is being assembled. Confusion reigns, drama builds, the device is detonated and a mushroom cloud looms over Los Angeles. Such is primetime television in the age of terrorism, or as some critics charge, has "24" gone too far?

"It's the closest television comes to roller coasters," said David Bianculli, television critic for the New York Daily News. "It works well dramatically, and as far as feeding fears, that's what '24' is all about."

Sut Jhally, co-producer and co-director of the film "Hijacking Catastrophe," says the dramatic action in the show creates a dangerous climate in which the public loses some of its perspective on what's real and what's not. Of course that may be a minority opinion given the show's enormous popularity.

"24" is taken seriously by some serious folks. Last June the conservative Heritage Foundation hosted a panel called, "'24' and America's Image in Fighting Terrorism: Fact, Fiction or Does It Matter?" Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff participated.

But some national security experts worry that television fantasy can trigger the imagination of terrorists. Jack Cloonan, a former senior agent on the FBI's bin Laden squad in New York, said that trainees in former al-Qaeda camps watched movie videos "to get ideas."

"The show has huge entertainment value, but it ups the ante for everybody," said Cloonan. "We saw what Columbine did. Fox may think they are doing a public service, but I don't see any redeeming value at all."

Josh Governale, spokesman for "24," refused to comment on tonight's episode.

"This television show is very political, and it's no accident that it's on Fox," said Jhally, who directs the Media and Education Foundation and is professor of communications at University of Massachusetts. "Given their propaganda system, it doesn't surprise me."

In tonight's drama terrorists have put the country into a state of high alert — and panic — after a series of bombings have killed hundreds and injured thousands in cities around the country. Los Angeles, home of the Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU), is the latest place where suicide bombers have struck, and President Palmer — that's Wayne Palmer, the brother of the late President David Palmer —

Wow. I was going to post the whole story, but it goes on for two more pages.

Anyway, the article is talking about the fourth episode of season six of 24, in which a "suitcase nuke" is successfully set of in Los Angeles. To suggest that this is dangerous because terrorist may get ideas is absurd of a number of levels.

One, what terrorist hasn't already thought of setting off a nuclear weapon in LA or another major city. That's the Un-Holy Grail of terrorism, a wet dream they've all already had. To suggest that this may give the terrorists that idea to set off a nuke is ridiculous, because they've all already thought of it.

Second, for the media to suggest that giving the terrorists ideas is dangerous is ridiculous, because they do it constantly. I always love when I'm watching the news and the anchor is describing how if a terrorist wanted to they could easily kill thousands of Americans by doing "x," because, "we here at this liberal media outlet have uncovered that the Federal government is doing nothing to prevent this specific scenario." This is simply liberal media attacking what they perceive to be a conservative show. Fans of the show are aware that if these idiots would watch one episode of 24 they would realize that other than Jack Bauer (and Chloe), the show as a whole is quite liberal, having taken their entire season five plot straight out of Fahrenheit 9/11.

Ignoring the surface ignorance of this article, is the underlying fact that even if a terrorist wanted to set off a suitcase nuke, they'd have trouble due to the fact that they don't exist. Richard Miniter completely debunked them in his ground-breaking book "Disinformation." The entire section on suitcase nukes can be found here.

Pages of evidence and well-thought out reasoning culminates in this proclamation:

For now, suitcase-sized nuclear bombs remain in the realm of James Bond movies. Given the limitations of physics and engineering, no nation seems to have invested the time and money to make them. Both U.S. and the USSR built nuclear mines (as well as artillery shells), which were small but hardly portable--and all were dismantled by treaty by 2000. Alexander Lebed's claims and those of defector Stanislev Lunev were not based on direct observation. The one U.S. official who saw a small nuclear device said it was the size of three footlockers--hardly a suitcase. The desire to obliterate cities is portable--inside the heads of believers--while, thankfully, the nuclear devices to bring that about are not.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Al Qaeda has Nuclear Weapons

Consider the religious fatwa titled “A Treatise on the Legal Status of Using Weapons of Mass Destruction Against Infidels” that Osama bin Laden secured from Shaykh Nasir bin Hamd al-Fahd, a young and prominent Saudi cleric justifying the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against Americans, in May 2003.