Thanks a ton for the Monday Nightly News story about United Through Reading, which allows parents in the military to read to their kids in the U.S. via DVD. I remember this story from the last time it aired, on Aug. 21, 2009. Then, it was about Freedom Calls, a company that allows servicemen to witness the birth of a child through a satellite video hookup. So how many more stories is Nightly News going to bring us about military personnel who keep in contact with their families through video or DVD? In what alternate universe does this qualify as news? How about a story on McPatriot Meals, which allows a military family in the U.S. to bring a video hookup into McDonald's, so their loved one serving overseas can watch the family snarfing down Big Macs and fries? Or Patriot Pets, which allows a deployed military pet owner (via a two-way live video feed) to yell at their dog back home to stop chewing on the furniture or to get off the couch? We get it. Thanks to modern technology, people in the armed services can keep in touch with their families back home. How many times do the Nightly News producers need to tell us the same story?
And has anyone else noticed that every Roger O'Neil story is virtually identical, and all his stories seem as if they were lifted right off of bad Hallmark greeting cards? O'Neil isn't a news reporter, he's a propagandist. A news reporter is supposed to present a balanced and informative story about something of importance happening in the U.S. or around the world. O'Neil's stories are for the sole purpose of glorifying the military and praising "brave warriors" and "fallen heroes". "The wreaths...will honor those who served, each to serve as a reminder that freedom is not free. In life they honored their country, today we honor them with gestures befitting for American heroes." Is that from a sappy Hallmark card? No, it's from O'Neil's Dec. 18 story about Wreaths Across America. "Whenever the warrior leaves, the glue holding the family together has always been the military spouse." Hallmark? No, O'Neil (March 4). "It is a solemn and lonely lane they travel, the silence broken by the steady cadence of the horse whose ancestors once carried warriors into battle. But on this day (they) carry a warrior to a more peaceful place with poignant words from a poem." O'Neil again (March 17). What is his ridiculous obsession with warriors? I think he must have seen "Gladiator" a few too many times. This is the kind of corny, hokey prose that makes high school English teachers cringe. Or laugh. If NBC wants to put O'Neil's flag-waving eagle-soaring liberty-torch-waving garbage on the air, fine--but not on Nightly News. Maybe Dateline or Today. Better yet, why not trade O'Neil to the Fox News Channel where his hyper-patriotic rah-rah jingoism would fit right in alongside Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity?