Saturday, March 30, 2013

CBS Apologizes for The Amazing Race in Hanoi

A few days after a recent episode of the Emmy award winning show, The Amazing Race, the 31st anniversary of the 1982 ground breaking ceremony for a national monument recognizing Vietnam war veterans was noted.  Ironic, I thought.  During the episode of The Amazing Race a bit of a controversy broke out from attentive viewers.

I'm a fan of the show so I had watched the episode as the contestants vying for the million dollar prize trekked through Hanoi, Vietnam.  My first reaction was how odd a locale, given our history with the nation.  I am a Baby Boomer.  My generation grew up with the evening news of the Vietnam war in the background as we ate our evening meals and our older brothers and sisters were involved in the war.  I married a Vietnam war veteran.  We all remember how poorly our veterans were treated as they returned from war.  We also must now contend with the fact that the hideously politically opportunistic John Kerry is our current Secretary of State, though he should have never been elected into office in the first place as he turned his back on fellow veterans.  He accused them of war crimes during the Winter Soldier hearings.

During the race in Hanoi, the contestants ran by the remains of a B-52 aircraft, now used as a monument to victory in the war, while no mention of its history there was mentioned.  The contestants picked up a clue there to be used in the race. Then they were taught a song glorifying the Communist party in Vietnam and sang it.  It was quite surreal but I thought, well, this must be where we are as a nation.  We are so completely absent in knowledge and, more importantly, understanding of our national history that Hollywood now completely ignores and accepts a war that killed hundreds of thousands of our young people and those people living in Vietnam.

Then I tuned in for last week's show and as it began an apology was extended to the viewers for the Hanoi episode.  To say I was surprised is an understatement.  But, it was a good surprise.  It was the kind of action that gives me a glimmer of hope for our people.

We want to apologize to veterans, particularly those who served in Vietnam, as well as to their families and any viewers who were offended by the broadcast," read the statement aired ahead of Sunday's broadcast.
Parts of last Sunday's episode, filmed in Vietnam, were insensitive to a group that is very important to us: our nation's veterans," the statement read. "We want to apologize to veterans, particularly those who served in Vietnam, as well as to their families and any viewers who were offended by the broadcast. All of us here have the most profound respect for the men and women who fight for our country.

It should be noted that previously to this broadcast apology, the executives at CBS were silent when questioned about the objections to groups and viewers, such as the VFW National Commander, who wrote a letter to the network's top man:

"The B-52 scene, as well as the young people singing a propaganda song, was totally unnecessary to the show’s plot, which speaks volumes about naive producers who think they’re in charge when they are not,” VFW national commander John Hamilton wrote in a nearly 500-word letter to CBS Corp. chief Leslie Moonves.
So, had no one complained or spoken up for the hurt inflicted by this show, the slap would have gone unnoticed by the swells in Hollywood.  "Out of touch" is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.

Perhaps a lesson has been learned. I'm encouraged to know that sometimes it's not just me who remembers.

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