Fueled by lusty television ratings of “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” Rupert Murdoch’s Fox network intends to launch The War Channel, Metro Times has divined.
The War Channel will create its own army of mercenaries composed of trigger-happy veterans of the Iraq campaign, and contract with “freedom-loving regimes everywhere” to “make the world safe for Pax Americana, or at least a kind of tepid fascism,” a khaki-clad source embedded with the Third Battalion, Sixth Regiment of the elite Fox News Storm Troopers told me, perhaps.
White House spokesmodel Airy Fleischer said the administration views The War Channel as an obvious outgrowth of the tremendous TV ratings generated by the Iraq campaign.
“Let’s face it, our decision to put soldiers in charge of the care and feeding of journalists has made major news organizations into appendages of the government,” he crooned. “The next step is clear: news organizations waging and telecasting wars in their own right. We see this as a complement to our foreign policy of kickin’ ass and takin’ names.”
Fleischer said it is his understanding that unlike the journalists who accompanied coalition forces in the Iraqi campaign, reporters and camera operators will be utterly indistinguishable from troops — the people documenting the combat will also be combatants.
Fleischer said The War Channel dovetails perfectly with President Bush’s affinity for privatization.
“Capitalism and entrepreneurship and the liberation of oppressed, swarthy people are the hallmarks of America. And everyone knows that anything government does, business can do better. So why not war?” Fleischer said. “We see TV war, coupled with the president’s tax cut on corporate dividends, as the economic engine we’ve been seeking to bring the domestic economy out of its torpor. Much as the Digital Age or Information Age drove the boom of the ’90s, the Global TV Empire Age will buoy us in the new millennium. This will create jobs — people working on everything from new weapons systems to new hair-care products that can stand up to mustard gas.”
The War Channel intends to take the technology employed by coalition forces and the broadcast media during the Iraq conflict to exponential heights.
“Every weapon, be it an M-16, an RPG or a Hellfire missile will be equipped with a video camera,” the Fox tattler panted. “Every combatant will have a microphone.
“We’re very close to perfecting fiber-optic nano-cameras that will fit inside hollow-point bullets, so we’ll be able to take viewers right into the bodies of the enemy itself, just like in that cool Three Kings movie. Talk about providing ‘the inside story,’” he quipped.
A new generation of air-to-surface munitions is on the drawing board. Weapons are being imbued with cutting-edge artificial intelligence.
“We’re moving way beyond ‘smart bombs’ and ‘dumb bombs,’” the Fox News source gushed. “We’re developing ‘genius’ munitions. The new Savant missile, for example, is beyond comprehension. Guided through triangulation of GPS, DNA and Mapquest, this projectile has the ability to knock innocently on doors, pick locks and, if the intended target isn’t around, gain entry and hang around, like, in a closet or behind a wet bar until they show up.”
The Fox Newsie said The War Channel’s planners should have a regime selected in time for the launch of the fall TV season. Ongoing “synergistic” efforts with Sega to develop programs that will allow home viewers to use video game controllers to join in remote combat probably won’t be ready until the subsequent fall season, the source said.
Murdoch did not return calls seeking comment. Neither did the man assigned to lead the new network, former Reagan cerebral cortex Roger Ailes, who currently heads up Fox News.
Iran-Contra figure Oliver North, who served valorously as Fox News correspondent in “Operation Iraqi Freedom” (earning Fox’s Iron Cross Medal), has signed on to serve as “Anchor/ Field Marshal.”
“With Roger and Ollie, it’s really a natural,” the Fox source said. “They have experience creating armies out of thin air.”
In what could be a stunning ratings coup, Ailes was said to have engaged in intense negotiations to land Pfc. Jessica Lynch, the rescued prisoner of war, as the War Channel’s lead female “Anchor/ Soldier.” Independent sources placed Ailes at Lynch’s hospital bedside, where he was said to have convinced her to ink a lucrative contract.
“Roger did face some isolated pockets of resistance, primarily from Jessie’s dad,” the mole said. “But then Roger gave him a really swell pair of night-vision goggles, and he was apparently neutralized.
“She’s an all-American girl, the girl next door. She’s a war heroine. She wasted a few towel-heads before they captured her. She’s got grit. And, let’s be candid, she’s babe-alicious,” my informant opined.
The source said Fox’s creative department has already determined that whenever the ex-POW goes into combat, her unit will operate under the rubric “The Lynch Mob.”
Other broadcast personalities were said to be jockeying for a chance to become shining stars in the emerging War Channel constellation.
“It’s a feeding frenzy for these people’s agents,” the insider said. “Martha Stewart pitched a half-hour daytime show that would focus on humanitarian aid and redecorating after ‘shock and awe.’ She wants to call it ‘War Is Heck.’
“And Wolf Blitzter has offered to change his name to Fox Blitzer.”
John Madden is said to be interested in hosting “The War Channel’s Wackiest Bloopers.” Arnold Schwartzenegger and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf are working on a pilot called, “May The Schwartz Be With You.” Ted Nugent wants a show on bow-warfare. The producers of “Survivor” hope to spend a season embedded.
“That creepy guy from MSNBC who does the ‘Abrams Report’ is begging for a show called “The Abrams Tank Report.’ Fat chance.”
Bill O’Reilly has already been ruled out as a field reporter/ combatant.
“Everyone knows O’Reilly’s a coward. The only bombs he’d ever throw are rhetorical,” my source said. “The conventional wisdom is that he’ll be given some intelligence and interrogation duties, psy-ops. The thought is that recalcitrant POWs could also be reduced to quivering masses of protoplasm after relatively brief exposure to a continuous loop of ‘The O’Reilly Factor.’”
Geraldo Rivera, currently in the doghouse over his disclosure of coalition troop maneuvers in Iraq, will initially be assigned to serve as a human drone.
Advertisers are clamoring for prime sponsorships. Halliburton, Bechtel, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, Archer-Daniels-Midland, Disney, Tommy Hilfiger and the NRA are all expected to be prominent underwriters.
“They’re really gung-ho,” my source said. “The only condition they’ve put forth is that there can’t be any looting after liberation. So looting is definitely out. We’re thinking shopping sprees at Wal-Mart for the liberatees instead.”
I asked my interlocutor whether The War Channel’s first campaign will pursue al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
“What, are you nuts?” he rejoined. “Those people are dangerous. They’re killers. And Afghanistan is so 2002.
“Ditto for North Korea. The War Channel won’t have nukes for several more years.”
How about Cuba? I inquired.
“Nah. Been there, done that. William Randolph Hearst already did Cuba. And look how that turned out — didn’t last 60 years, and the mob lost all kinds of jack when Fidel took over. We can’t afford those kinds of mistakes.”
He said that Ailes hopes to launch The War Channel with a campaign in a country whose leaders utter archaic but grandiloquent threats about “the lamentations of your women and the wrath of God and all that scriptural-sounding stuff.”
He said Ailes has decreed that the kickoff invasion must come in a country “with lots of really big statutes.”
North immediately proposed attacking Easter Island. Informed that Easter Island was not inhabited, North suggested transferring the al Qaeda detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Easter Island.
“The Congo, the Ivory Coast, Sri Lanka, Colombia — the possibilities are endless,” the Fox News informant said. “How about the Shining Path in Peru? Those cats are Maoists, you know. And Peru, for example, is so much more picturesque than Iraq, which as you know is basically a colossal expanse of kitty litter. Peru has beautiful mountains, and Spanish-speakers, which would be a big hit with our burgeoning Latino Republican demographic.
“Also, don’t rule out Norway or Belize. I hear Murdoch is really pissed at Norway and Belize for some reason. And Detroit is always a possibility.”
The bean-spiller said Murdoch has struck a deal with the Pentagon to sublet the USS Kitty Hawk, and is negotiating with the Pentagon to obtain “slightly distressed” Soviet-era military equipment seized from Iraq. This machinery will help arm The War Channel’s foes.
“Hey, we don’t want wholesale slaughters. We still intend to be fair and balanced.”Jeremy Voas is the editor of Metro Times. E-mail [email protected]