NOBEL LAUREATES CONDEMN NBC’S STARS EARN STRIPES
Nine winners of the Nobel Peace Prize have written an open letter to NBC, condemning the network’s new reality series Stars Earn Stripes for “expand[ing] on an inglorious tradition of glorifying war and armed violence.” The nine strongly objected to the promos for the war airing during the network’s telecast of the Olympics. “Military training is not to be compared, subtly or otherwise, with athletic competition. … Preparing for war is neither amusing nor entertaining. Real war is down-in-the-dirt deadly. People — military and civilians — die in ways that are anything but entertaining.” With an apparent reference to the fact that the show has the blessing of retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who is its host, the letter continued: “NBC is working with the miliary to attempt to turn deadly military training into a sanitized ‘reality’ TV show that reveals absolutely nothing of the reality of being a soldier in war or the consequences of war.” Among those signing the letter was Jody Williams, who was awarded the Peace Prize in 1997 for her work to ban land mines, and Desmond Tutu, the South African bishop who was honored in 1984 for his campaign against apartheid. Responding to the letter, NBC said today (Tuesday) that the show was not “a glorification of war, but a glorification of service.” And in an interview with U.S. News and World Report, Clark said that the show is “a way of honoring the skills of our extraordinary service members and special operations_broader than that, honoring the skills and dedication of men and women who have served the country in uniform. And it’s raising money for charities.” The two-hour series debut drew solid ratings on Monday night, winning the 8:00 p.m. hour with 5.3 million viewers and placing second in the 9:00 p.m. hour with 5 million viewers.