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Following WND’s report on CBS’ “The Amazing Race” taking contestants to Hanoi, where they sat through a communist presentation, and went to a display celebrating the death of Americans, the network has issued an apology.
Liberals and conservative alike had condemned the show.
During Sunday evening’s episode of the show, which features teams in a global competition, the network apologized to Vietnam veterans for the previous week’s episode.
“Parts of last Sunday’s episode, filmed in Vietnam, were insensitive to a group that is very important to us: our nation’s veterans,” said Phil Keoghan, the show’s host. “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.”
Dan Gainor, vice president of the Media Research Center’s Culture and Media Institute, said while it is good that the network apologized, the fact that it was produced in the first place shows they are out of touch with the majority of Americans.
“The attitude apparently was who cares about members of the military,” Gainor said. “This should have been stopped in the beginning and never have happened. Polls have shown that 61 percent of all Americans have had someone in their family serving the military. I’m guessing the people who run that show fall into the 39 percent. What next, are we to have an ‘Amazing Race’ episode where they go to Hawaii and celebrate the attack on the U.S.S. Arizona and the rest of our fleet at Pearl Harbor?”
While it might seem as if the network simply had a change of heart about the episode, the apology came after WND reported on the show’s celebration of communism, noting that ccontestants were forced to sit through a presentation by young people waving Vietnamese flags that featured the communist star in front of the image of communist revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh.
The group sang a song extolling the virtues of communism and socialism, which was described as “beautiful.”
“Vietnam Communist Party is glorious,” they sang. “The light is guiding us to victory. Long live independence and freedom of our nation. Our land does not forget the truth in your name. Vietnam, we are going to the century of light. Socialism is growing more beautiful with time. Follow the party’s step. Be loyal. Be pure. Although the path has been muddy with rain and dusty with sun, Vietnam, spring has come.”
After the presentation, the television contestants were then directed to a room that featured communist propaganda photos. They had to locate a phrase that said “glory to our young generation” in Vietnamese on one of the posters to receive a clue for the next leg of the race.
From there, they traveled to the so-called “B-52 Memorial,” which prominently featured the fuselage of a B-52 bomber shot down by communist forces during Operation Linebacker.
On Thursday, liberal Bob Beckel, appearing on Fox News’ The Five said it was outrageous that CBS would allow the show to be produced.
“You realize CBS that there were four Americans that went down with the plane, two of them died and two of them were imprisoned. There are 850,000 Vietnam veterans alive today and you owe them an amazing big apology,” Beckel said. “The idea that you would somehow bring to the American screen that kind of stuff is outrageous. You guys were anti-American and you should apologize to veterans.”
He said the last thing the network wants to be known as the “Communist B***** Sympathizers.”
Following the WND story, John Hamilton, commander-in chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars fired off an open letter to CBS, saying its members were “angry” over the episode.
“It’s been 40 years since our last combat troops exited Vietnam. It was a war that tore our nation apart, both politically and on college campuses across the country,” Hamilton said. “So I hope you can understand our anger at a show that wasted a golden opportunity to educate as well as entertain. The scene with the B-52 wreckage could have been used to tell a story about what was then America’s longest war, about the 58,195 American names on the Vietnam Wall, about the 1,652 Americans still listed as missing-in-action, or about the fates of the multiple crewmen aboard each of the 17 American B-52s we lost in combat.
“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 naïve producers who think they’re in charge when they are not.”
As outrage began to grow across the Internet, the network decided to issue an apology.
Gainor said there was a huge difference between the show’s producers choosing to go to Vietnam as opposed to other countries we have gone to war with such as Japan and Germany.
“It’s one thing to visit a former enemy who is now an ally such as Germany or Japan, but this is a nation we are still on the best of terms with. At the very least you don’t go to a memorial celebrating the death of Americans,” he said. “You would think even a person fresh out of a left-wing university would get that fact, but they don’t because they’re not attuned to it and because they don’t have any family members in the military. They don’t care about history or what matters to people.”
Outrage over the show was not limited to conservative outlets, Richard Riis, writing for the left-wing Daily Kos said the network crossed the line with the episode.
“Did it never cross the minds of the show’s producers that the cravenly insensitive use of an enemy monument to the killing of Americans would be offensive to viewers, especially those who fought in Vietnam and the families of those who died there.”
Following CBS’ apology, Sen. John McCain, a former Vietnam prisoner of war tweeted that the apology should end controversy over the episode.
“CBS did the right thing by apologizing for #Amazing Race Hanoi episode. We all make mistakes – the issue is closed.”
Gainor says despite McCain’s statement he does not consider to be closed because the network had not indicated it will deal with the culture that led to the episode’s production in the first place.
“The problem is when networks do things like this where’s the corrective behavior? Periodically when they do something really awful then they apologize, but they never correct the behavior. What are they going to do in the future to ensure things like this never happen again? I think the problem is they just don’t care.”
Rush Limbaugh told a caller on his show that he also felt the network’s apology was disingenuous.
“What happened on that show was nothing more than what our current secretary of state and Jane Fonda did,” Rush said.