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Like the proverbial blind pig who occasionally unearths a truffle, the Fox News Channel has finally stumbled onto a beef with which I am in complete agreement: CBS and the producers of The Amazing Race owe Americans, especially Vietnam War veterans, an apology.

There is some consolation in that it was Bob Beckel, the lone liberal voice on The Five, Fox News’ weekday afternoon panel discussion program, who expressed his outrage over the Emmy-winning reality/game show’s use of the wreckage of a downed American B-52 bomber as a prop in last Sunday’s episode, set in Hanoi, and leads the growing number of demands for an apology from CBS.

The program featured a segment in which its globetrotting contestants raced around the wreckage of the bomber, which was shot down in 1972 and put on display in display in the Vietnamese capital as a “memorial.”

The wreckage was treated as a prop, with an Amazing Race “Double-U-Turn” sign placed in front of it.

"Do you realize, CBS, there were four Americans that went down with that plane?" Beckel said Thursday on The Five. "Two of them died."

Beckel said despite calls to CBS head honcho Les Moonves and Amazing Race producer Jerry Bruckheimer, nobody would comment on the controversy.

"There are 850,000 American Vietnam veterans alive today, and you owe them an amazing, big apology," Beckel said.

The episode featured another segment in which the contestants interacting with locals singing a song extolling the virtues of the Vietnamese Communist Party. Lyrics included: “Vietnam Communist Party is glorious. The light is guiding us to victory.” The song is performed in front of a picture of North Vietnam’s late Communist leader Ho Chi Minh.

I agree completely with Beckel. 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? Or do they think that, "Hey, that war was 40 years ago; it’s just some twisted steel and dust, let’s have fun with it?" Are there no other tourist sites in Hanoi that might have been used instead? CBS could certainly have shown the "memorial" or had the contestants visit the site, perhaps with some sober comment on what it represents, but to use it as a prop in a frivolous game was disgusting. What next, CBS, beach volleyball on the USS Arizona Memorial? CBS and the producers of The Amazing Race owe Americans veterans a big apology.

The national commander of the American Legion has joined those who are demanding an apology.

“The show is called ‘The Amazing Race’ but I call it ‘The Amazing Gall,’” Commander James E. Koutz said in a letter to CBS. Koutz called the segment a “disgraceful slap-in-the face administered to American war heroes.”

Viewers have taken to expressing their outrage on CBS’ Facebook page and that of The Amazing Race. Like-minded others may wish to join the thousands who have signed an online petition to CBS.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You do realize... (12+ / 0-)

    this segment was filmed in Vietnam?

    While it made me cringe to see the "monument" and hear the song, Vietnam can hardly be blamed for thinking this way about our country.

    I shudder to think what kind of songs will be written about the US by Iraq.  

    Sorry, but I cannot be outraged about this.  And for the record, I am of the age of those who went, served, and came back home broken or worse from that ghastly war.

    Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore. John Prine -8.00,-5.79

    by Miss Blue on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 07:26:20 AM PDT

  •  Speaking as an old B-52 driver (22+ / 0-)

    It's not like we were dropping candy and flowers on Hanoi in 1972.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 07:27:02 AM PDT

    •  If you really are a veteran... (0+ / 0-)

      you show little regard for those who died for you.

      •  I Am '70-'71 last yr. of my four (4+ / 0-)


        And frankly your attempt at making the Vietnamese into some sort of evil people, long time American type propaganda, is what should be 'apologized' for!!!

        Most of us who frankly get Vietnam and that occupation and are very sympathetic to that country and it's people, your damn lucky they and from that time didn't seek retaliation for what we did and walked away from, as these times and our policies have created. Many of us, some more then others, have years in helping the Vietnamese especially in issues like Agent Orange, finally getting cleaned up  with some American Funding from this Administration and it's State Department.

        And that screaming 'communism', hey there we don't jump under our desks anymore, like it's something to fear and hate, more damn propaganda, is your problem, not ours!!

        Read some of the replies others are giving you, maybe you'll get it, probably not!!

        We're, and myself strongly, are still waiting for the once U.S. public to pony up and Sacrifice, and what do they do but have two more wars of choice, directly after ignoring the vets of desert storm and gulf war syndrome as they ignored us and our issues and already are ignoring these two wars veterans issues, that came with Tax Cuts, not a dime has paid for these wars but more importantly for the results of, DeJa-Vu all over again!!

        Go outside and wave that patriotic flag, you'll feel better!!

        oh and I don't watch so called reality shows, but did see the ads for this one, didn't phase in the least, we 'Nam vets are long ago used to it!!

        "If military action is worth our troops' blood, it should be worth our treasure, too; not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

        by jimstaro on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 09:39:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Spare me (6+ / 0-)

        21 years of service, retired AF/ANG O-5.

        Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Joint Forge, ONW, OIF

        What did you expect the Vietnamese to put up in their capitol?

        A big sign that says "Hey! Thanks for trying to bomb us back to the stone age! We really enjoyed it."?

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 09:42:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The issue isn't what the Vietnamese did. (0+ / 0-)

          The issue is where CBS decided to film.

          As stated earlier, would you find a game show set in Auschwitz appropriate?

          Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

          by FrankRose on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 12:10:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So you're equating (0+ / 0-)

            Linebacker II with the Holocaust?

            Interesting perspective.

            If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

            by Major Kong on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 12:33:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No. I am comparing inappropriate backdrops for (0+ / 0-)

              gameshows with inappropriate backdrops for gameshows.

              It's even more interesting if you manage to actually read.

              Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

              by FrankRose on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 12:48:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  um (0+ / 0-)

        I think you're missing his point.

        All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

        by subtropolis on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 10:33:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Amen Major. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenotron

      Once again, thank you for your service.

  •  I watched that program and I disagree with your (8+ / 0-)

    rigtheous indignation.

    I was amazed that they even had a memorial for the fallen American fighter.

    And no, the Vietnamese patriotic song didn't sway my Liberal sensibilities. Although, I did have rice with my Tex-Mex chilli this past wednesday.

    Notice: This Comment © 2013 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 07:28:33 AM PDT

  •  How Many Vietnamese (10+ / 0-)

    were killed by that plane, and the others like it?

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 07:29:26 AM PDT

  •  CBS should (12+ / 0-)

    apologize for ALL of its 'shows". And NBC, ABC, FOX, etc. TV is a wasteland anymore.

  •  provincial (3+ / 0-)

    I don't watch the show, but it sounds like one of many travel shows that is wrapped up in an ratings exterior.

    One reason to travel is so that one will not be so provincial, thinking that one's values are not the only values in the world.  To become more accepting, loving, and maybe even inclusive of those who are not in lockstep with the values one holds dear

    Which means that one will sometimes see evidence that one's values do not always win.  I know it must hurt many that the US military, with all the money invested, is not perfect and sometimes we lose. Nothin shows this more than a downed airplane.  

    I do think this is more about the might of the US rather than individual soldiers.  We see the evacuation on TV many times.  Parodies are made of it.  It represents the futility of the 60K US deaths, the 200K+ civilian deaths, and likely an additional 100K+ deaths of others.  Yet we do not see these things criticized.  

  •  85,000? (5+ / 0-)

    Not sure which one of your assholes you picked this number out of...

    Hey..I am only 63... and there were hundreds of thousands of us there..when i was there...are we down to only 85,000?

    Ya want to be outraged and do something?
    Visit your local V.A. hospital... volunteer...donate some books...

    Or state your outrage by non-violent blocking the entrance to your local CBS station...when arrested...for trespass..hey on camera..live at five..you can express yourself... If you are not willing to make a real statement through non-violent resistance resulting in arrest...
    cool...but don't expect me so take you seriously...

    ashes..ashes..we all fall down

  •  Looking forward (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil, cee4, radmul

    to the diary where you get all outraged because an American network TV show uses culturally important props of other countries to boost ratings.

    I have no problem with this for reasons already stated.

  •  The war is over, we lost, but . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cee4, DaNang65

    That the Vietnamese have memorials including shot-down American warplanes is okay. They earned that wreakage. We probably killed well over a million Vietnamese people, including their military members. They still won. I worked up close and personal with B-52's in 1970 in Thailand. I know that fully ten percent of operational B-52's were shot down or crashed due to other malfunctions during the air war in between 1965 and 1973. The Vietnamese claim they shot down 34. The US Air Force acknowleges half that number. How do we know who to believe? Who cares? It is over. There were people in every one of those aircraft.

    However, for an American television show to include scenes of that memorial is a bad thing. Even stupid people who like reality television can be shocked. I have no idea what the limit might be, where people finally say, "That is really a waste of time. I'll never get that hour back to do something else with it."

    Reality television is getting wierd insofar as they keep wandering further out on a limb with no good exits, just to boost their ratings. The ratings contest doesn't matter to many people who watch shows on the Internet, having given up on traditional network tetlevision entirely.

  •  Oh good gravy. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenotron, ROGNM, Barbara Marquardt

    While were at it let's also ban all filming at civil war battle scenes and at the alamo, I mean way more Americans died in those places and those heartless telivision production companies couldn't care less. I suppose much of Western Europe is off limits now too but that's ok because FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    "Jesus Christ was black, ronald reagan was the devil, and the government is lying about 9/11." Huey Freeman

    by cee4 on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 08:25:10 AM PDT

  •  I am dumbfounded at the shallow responses here. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glbTVET, The Jester, FrankRose

    Clearly they are not reading the article. My objection is not to the Vietnamese having this wreckage as a monument. It is not to CBS showing footage shot at the wreckage. It is the insensitivity of using it as a prop in a silly game. Good Lord, some of the people here are clearly as insensitive as CBS itself. Why would you choose to use the site as a prop knowing it might provoke a backlash? Is that good business sense? There must be a hundred other cultural/historic sites they could have chosen. Instead they chose a site any half-wit would realize would cause pain to American veterans. Apparently the corporate culture has brainwashed a lot of readers here that anything goes in entertainment, regardless of who it hurts. Shame.

    •  I don't understand your outrage. (6+ / 0-)

      How exactly is it that this wreckage would cause pain to Viet Vets? By reminding them that we lost that war? I think they have adjusted to that reality. The Vietnamese are not our enemies anymore. Americans know it was a huge and tragic mistake to fight that war. The Vietnamese won. They defeated the American military on the field of battle, threw out an invading army, and are writing their own future. We applaud and admire them for that.
      Now if the show were filmed at the LBJ library, that would have been insensitive.

      The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet. Mark Twain

      by AWhitneyBrown on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 09:16:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We understand we just don't agree with you. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaNang65, Barbara Marquardt, radmul

      "Jesus Christ was black, ronald reagan was the devil, and the government is lying about 9/11." Huey Freeman

      by cee4 on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 09:22:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "(C)ause pain to American veterans"? (5+ / 0-)

      I'm not sure exactly what about this causes pain to American veterans, particularly Viet Nam veterans.

      We launched a war of imperial aggression against a struggling Third World nation that only wanted what our own Founding Fathers wanted. We squandered the flower of our youth in what a Viet Vet friend of mine called "the teenage slaughter" a few nights ago. We showered poor people with cluster bombs and sprayed them, and ourselves, with the horrors of genetic mutation and lifelong illnesses.

      Yet somehow it's a teevee show using the day to day reality of courageous people who survived all modern industrial society was willing to throw at them that's the cause for outrage?

      I'll save my outrage for the Vietnamese children still being born deformed and stunted by Agent Orange, my sympathy for the Viet Nam veterans who have dedicated themselves to trying to right some of the wrongs we did there, like the members of Veterans For Peace Chapter 160.

      I'll save some more of my outrage for the horrible misshapen children of Iraq, deformed by exposure to Depleted Uranium.

      But I'll save most of my outrage for the faux patriots who are never willing to look back at what we've done, their eyes already on the next atrocity ahead. They're the ones watching Fox News and the Amazing Race.

      Those of us who are trying to right the wrongs are too busy to worry about mindless ephemera. Many of us don't even own teevee machines.

      2031595 USMC
      RVN '65-'66, '66-'67

    •  I watched the show (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FrankRose

      I wouldn't say I was outraged by this, but I was somewhat annoyed by it.  I almost got the impression the producers of the show were confused by what it was.  I thought they should have mentioned some of the history of it considering that it is clearly a war trophy for the Vietnamese.  They (or at least some of the contestants) seemed to imply it was a memorial for the Americans that died there.

    •  I understand what you're trying to say (0+ / 0-)

      Perhaps I misinterpreted, but it came across as "It's only offensive because Americans died there".

      Because of course it's always all about us.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 09:50:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree completely Richard... (0+ / 0-)

      ... that they would have it as a memorial, for both of us, is understandable and appropriate.

      That the idiots at CBS would use it as a prop in a silly game... of a monumentally STUPID tv show, that itself is an insult to people's intelligence... is pathetic.

      If I were there I'd lay flowers for both the crew and the people it dropped bombs on.

      I was too young to go, but I spent my entire childhood following pins on a map of Vietnam, where my Grand Uncle and Grand Aunt spent most of the war. Uncle Bud was a Catholic Priest, he spent the war with his soldiers, riding med-evac helicopters to give aid and comfort to his people. His sister, was a nun, and a US Army combat nurse, and she spent the war in a MASH unit. My Grandmother followed them on a giant map of Vietnam on the pantry door, and moved the pins as their letters would report their current locations.

      I have no problem with singing the song, they are supposed to be traveling the world to partake in the culture of the places they visit. And a picture of Ho is like us having a picture of George Washington.

    •  Why would a blind pig have a hard time smelling (3+ / 0-)

      truffles?  Pigs have poor eyesight anyway.  They're all nose.  And a blind animal compensates with its remaining intact senses.  Is that really a proverbial saying?  If so, it's a stupid proverbial saying.

       FOX picked up on this not because of luck but because it represents a possible hook for their right wing agenda.  They had a "liberal" commentator raise the issue in the hopes that liberals would be taken in by their "outrage," as if it were something other than a ratings ploy of the same type that the idiot setup of the reality show in question is.  Apparently their calculations had some validity.  Maybe that's the point of your diary.

      Instead of being dumfounded, you might take a look at the responses of the Vietnam vets above.  This is an outrage only in the sense that most of TV is an outrage. Like the commenter above says, go volunteer at your local VA if you feel this strongly about honoring those who fought in that misbegotten American travesty, and quit giving props to an agitprop organ of the forces that are driving this country into a heap of wreckage.

      "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

      by nailbender on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 09:55:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Asdf (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenotron, flowerfarmer

    I'm confused.

    Is not the Enola Gay on display in Washington??

    •  It is (0+ / 0-)

      and the B-29 that dropped the second atomic bomb "Bock's Car" has been on display at Wright Patterson since as long as I can remember.

      It never caused the same amount of controversy as the Enola Gay for some reason.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 10:07:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Think it would make a good prop for a Japanese (0+ / 0-)

      game show?
      Maybe you should try marketing some Enola Gay postcards for the Japanese people.

      Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

      by FrankRose on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 12:20:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Asdf (0+ / 0-)

        My point exactly.

        Though I am sure the Japanese audience would be far less perturbed than we are over what should be a perfectly understandable Vietnamese symbol of victory - and the producers undoubtedly being accommodating to the local powers that be that suggested which local points of interest to use as markers.

        Just a thought.

  •  Ironically Enough (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ROGNM

    If (heaven forbid) we ever had to fight China, Vietnam would very likely be our ally.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 10:13:46 AM PDT

  •  turn off your tv (0+ / 0-)

    I know that doesn't addres the issue (which i agree with btw—this is appalling) but that's always my reaction to the latest television outrage. It's been at least six years now for me and i can't recommend it enough.

    an enemy monument to the killing of Americans

    The locals probably think of it more as a memorial to the dark days when the imperialist forces from the other side of the planet were raining death from above upon their homes. Just sayin'.

    That said, i find the choice of this location to be utterly reprehensible. But not surprising in the least. These kinds of tv programs are created by thoughtless and ignorant people.

    Really, how can any of you stand to watch this crap? Don't allow yourselves to be drawn in by the exotic locales—do more traveling instead. Or find other ways to satisfy your curiosity about the planet.

    All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

    by subtropolis on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 10:32:16 AM PDT

  •  saw the show, laughed at the song & dance - (0+ / 0-)

    wondered if there was a quid pro quo going on - if the Vietnamese allowed the taping only if they got to choose the patriotic back-drops?

    the big song & dance production number reminded one of the contestants of "Up With People" - enough said

    Viet Nam vet there in 68 - it looks better now, & I'm happy about that

    "Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." - Isaac Asimov

    by greenotron on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 10:46:04 AM PDT

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