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Real Time Reality TV

By Brian | April 15, 2009 | Share on Facebook

By now, most everyone is aware of the escalating violence off the coast of Somalia. Since Sunday, Somali pirates have taken seventy-five additional hostages and fired upon American ships bearing food aid, all in response to this past weekend’s rescue of American Captain Richard Phillips and several French sailors. A spokesman for the pirates (yes, they apparently have spokesmen) said, “Our latest hijackings are meant to show that no one can deter us from protecting our waters from the enemy because we believe in dying for our land.”

A serious situation, to be sure. So imagine my surprise when I saw this banner ad in my Yahoo! news feed:

Apparently, a company called 44 Blue Productions will station TV crews aboard U.S. Navy vessels patrolling the Somali waters for pirates. Rasha Drachkovitch, 44 Blue’s president and founder says he will have access to dozens of navy cameras along with his own. He feels it’s his job to “find the characters and stories to focus upon.”

Spike’s senior VP for original series, Sharon Levy, said she didn’t know if the incident with Richard Phillips would “kill the deal or seal the deal,” but feels that “following the work of Navy personnel on this mission is the sort of action Spike craves. . . The cable channel targets young male viewers aged 18 to 34, potentially making ‘Pirate Hunters: USN’ a strong recruiting tool for the Navy.”

The Navy, believe it or not, agrees. Navy spokesman Commander Richard K. Anderson (who was terrific in The Matrix, by the way): “That’s the Spike demographic and (recruiting) is a factor. We also have a responsibility to inform the American public about what we are doing.”

To all of which, I can only add this: Seriously? The U.S. Navy needs a Reality TV show to inform the American public about what they’re doing to fight Somali pirates? Isn’t that what the news media is for? Isn’t it enough that the President of the United States has publicly vowed to halt the piracy? Or is that just advance marketing for the TV show now?

And do we really need to “find characters and stories to focus upon?” Here’s a story: a group of Navy Seals took out three pirates with high-powered rifles in open water without so much as splashing water on the hostage. Sorry, but I don’t need touching background footage of their wives & kids back home to consider them heroes.

This is reality. It doesn’t need to be reality television.

Topics: News and/or Media, Primetime TV | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Real Time Reality TV”

  1. FamilyGreenberg.Com - Colbert Nation launches into orbit says at April 15th, 2009 at 2:50 pm :
    [...] Real Time Reality TV [...]


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