In yet another example of psychological conditioning by the mainstream corporate media, Time Warner demonstrated on Monday night how a seemingly innocuous NBA basketball program could be used to glorify and make light comedy out of state-sanctioned torture and the running series of recent taser-related deaths in the United States.
The May 4th 2010 edition of TNT’s Inside the NBA featured segment entitled, “E.J’s Neato Stat of the Night”, saw sportscasters Ernie “E.J.” Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith joking about how fun it would be to taser each other. The show began its segment showing an AP photo of a police officer using a Taser gun to apprehend a fan who ran onto the field during a Phillies game Monday night, with co-host Charles Barkley saying, “Congratulations police, way to taser his ass.”
The incident Barkley was referring to was in fact a horrific scene in Philadelphia where police descended on the 17 year old baseball fan, as onlookers in the stadium were heard shouting, “Tase him! Tase him!”, a scene which harkens back to the days of the Gladiators in Rome’s infamous Colosseum, where the public’s thirst for blood sport was once a major fixture of entertainment.
(watch in video as fans cheer on police to taser the young fan)
Inside the NBA: Making Torture Fun
During Part 3 of Inside the NBA, you can watch here as the show’s producer Tim Kiely then proceeded to run a lengthy carousel of disturbing on-screen images and graphic video clips showing police and military personnel tasering their subjects. Some video clips depicted subjects who were actually being held down during tasering. The show’s three hosts went on to make light comedy of tasering, as media jester Barkley proclaimed how he would like to be tasered by his co-host Ernie Johnson. All three pundits laughed about how fun it would be to ‘taser each other’ and openly down-playing the dangers of this so-called “non-lethal” weapon. Barkley continued saying “that guy’s a wuss”(clearly referring to the victim in the taser video clip). Barkley later attempts to explain away the dangers of tasering by stating, “I got police friends that say it hurts really bad for fifteen seconds and (then) you are alright.” He added, “I just want to see what the experience is like.” Not something one would expect to endure during a discussion about NBA basketball.
Meanwhile, taser-related deaths of innocent civilians at the hands of US law enforcement is on the increase. Most public advocacy groups are now arguing that tasering is torture, and constitutes a real breach of human rights. Amnesty International reported that between 2001 and 2008, more than 351 individuals in the United States have died after being shocked by police Tasers. 2009 also saw many more recorded deaths and severe injuries due tasering. See a list of deaths here. TNT’s Johnson, Barkley and Smith should really take note at the actual “Neato Stats” of taser deaths particularly because, like the 17 year old Phillies baseball fan who ran out on the field Tuesday night, nearly all of the individuals who died from these lethal attacks were completely unarmed.
While we are forced to suffer a parade vapid, over-weight and over-paid TV pundits like Johnson, Barkley and Smith promoting the use of lethal Tasers across the US , behind the curtain of filtered media coverage, millions of Americans continue to endure the parade middle aged (and often overweight) police officers and contract security guards who are clearly sold on this socially acceptable form of torture. Sadly, we must also face the reality that the Taser industry is now a multi-billion dollar global concern.
Corporate agenda behind TV programming
TNT Sports, formerly sat within mogul’s Ted Turner’s own Turner Broadcasting Systems (TBS, Inc.) who later merged with Time Warner in 1996, and now operates as a semi-autonomous unit of Time Warner. As one of the “big six” and with regular annual revenues around $30 billion, Time Warner is arguably the largest media conglomerate in the world, with holdings that include CNN, CW (a joint venture with CBS), HBO, Cinemax, Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT, America Online, MapQuest, Moviefone, Warner Bros. Pictures, Castle Rock, New Line Cinema, and more than 150 magazines including Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Marie Claire and People.
It’s clear now that after such a corporate takeover, the formerly independent cable sports network’s broadcasting remit is can longer be limited to simply covering sports. With daily ratings numbers in the tens of millions and share holding across a number of industrial sectors, one might argue here that Time Warner strategically seeds its political talking points down the food chain to its media Leggett, TNT Sports. It’s not unusual these days to see sports programs plugging the war effort, Federal policies and now, torture.
In addition to promoting the use of tasers, Inside the NBA also ran two lengthy pieces during the same show on Tues May 4th, criticizing Arizona’s recent immigration law, taking a clear position against the State of Arizona, instead echoing a series of talking points out of Washington’s press playbook on the issue.
Antiquated sports fans hoping for a safe haven from the relentless onslaught of social programming endured at the hands of CNN, FOX, MSNBC and Hollywood can expect even more talking points rammed down their TV cables.
Boycott Sports Programming
By promoting the casual use of tasers on Joe Public, sportscasters like Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith (egged-on by shallow and immature in-studio producers) become nothing more than a cheap set of screw drivers in the tool belt of the New World Order, genuinely concerned viewers should step up and send a clear message back to the major networks. Otherwise, just keep watch their bouncing balls and endure their stupid on-camera pranks.
If there are any sports fans out there who take offense to the repeated corporate injection of toxic politics and police state propaganda melted into TV sports programming, they would be advised to consider boycotting shows like Time Warner/TNT’s Inside the NBA until executives are ready to issue an apology to thousands of family members whose loved ones have suffered as a result of this new state-sanctioned torture policy of tasering innocents Americans.
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