They just aren’t comfortable with “The Vietnam War,” the ambitious documentary by filmmaker Ken Burns, which debuted last month with much fanfare and is still being featured on many PBS stations. Vietnam Veterans for Factual History — a Texas-based interest group which includes military veterans, historians and authors in its membership — is challenging both the content and tone of the 10-episode, 18-hour epic.
“Many in the Vietnam veteran community were deeply offended by the series. It correctly sees that war as the origin of the current cultural polarization in American society, and the intention was for the film to help bridge that divide. Unfortunately, its significant factual inaccuracies, omissions, and distortions deliver a message that is very negatively slanted against both the nation of South Vietnam and American involvement,” the group wrote in an open letter to Mr. Burns and Lynn Novick — who are the directors, co-creators, and also co-producers of the series — along with PBS and Bank of America, which financed the project.
“The film portrays U.S. support for South Vietnam as blustering, blundering jingoism and the choice of music, graphics, and interviewees demonstrates a bias in favor of the militant leftist anti-war cliches of the 1960s. It demonstrates a prejudice against the more than 90 percent of U.S. Vietnam War veterans who are proud of their Vietnam service. It demonstrates a prejudice against the tragic struggle of the embattled Republic of Vietnam to preserve its national sovereignty. It demonstrates a prejudice against the more than 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers killed by the Soviet-equipped and trained North Vietnamese Army and its Viet Cong subordinates,” the letter said.
The group is also critical or the portrayal of Ho Chi Minh and his “life-long dedication to ruthless Leninism,” plus the film’s failure “to acknowledge U.S. treaty obligations to assist Southeast Asian governments fighting Communist subversion, terrorism, and invasion.” The project, they said, also omitted certain actions by “leftist U.S. politicians” and gave little time to the oppression and the curtailing of civil liberties following the communist victory.
“In the interests of truly open civil discourse on this part of our history, we ask that you be willing to discuss with us possible remedies that demonstrate a better balance of inputs,” the group advised in their letter.
“We have not received a response back from Mr. Burns, PBS, or Bank of America, which is unfortunate because Vietnam veterans, Vietnamese-Americans, and the public deserve to have the full story of that history covered, with the events portrayed without bias or omissions,” R.J. Del Vecchio, executive secretary for the organization, tells Inside the Beltway.
ONE FOR THE LEATHERNECKS
An update at the Iwo Jima Memorial: The Interior Department, National Park Service, and the U.S. Marine Corps have dedicated new engravings on what is formally known as the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial to include the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns.
“As the Deputy Commander of Special Forces in Iraq and retired Navy SEAL, I saw the commitment, patriotism, and fortitude that American service members and their families display while serving our country,” says Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Our warriors who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan see more frequent deployments as our nation has been at sustained combat for longer than in any previous point in our nation’s history. The Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are warriors in the field and leaders in the community. I salute them and am grateful for their service.”
2020: AND SO IT BEGINS, SORT OF
Looks like the 2020 presidential election is upon us. C-SPAN has announced it will air the very first “Road to the White House 2020” on Wednesday night. The occasion which prompted the inaugural episode for the network’s series may not be must-see viewing for Republicans at this juncture. Featured: announced 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, who gave the keynote remarks at the recent Kennedy Clinton Dinner in Hollis, New Hampshire. Showtime is 8 p.m. EST.
WHAT’S IN THE DEMOCRATS’ STORE
Well, as long as we’re talking elections, the Democratic Party has announced it’s online store is open for business, ready for Black Friday and the incoming parade of holidays. Among the mottos featured on T-shirts, travel tumblers, buttons, wearables and other items:
“I hate TEA (parties),” “Democrats give a sh*t about people,” I’m one of the 65,844,610 Americans against Trump,” “I like Obamacare,” “Stop the GOP” and “Vote Democrat & Chill.” The $25 “Thanks Obama” mug is sold out.
ONE WHO UPHOLDS THE CONSTITUTION
Mark Levin is a longtime newsman with a formidable resume. Fox News Channel has taken notice and hired the talk radio host as the new host for “Life, Liberty & Levin,” a prime-time program debuting in February 2018.
“Mark’s passion for the principles found in the Constitution and success in talk radio has made him a distinct figure in the media landscape. We look forward to adding this spirited program to our weekend lineup,” says Suzanne Scott, president of programming for the network.
Mr. Levin’s new program will air at 10 p.m. on Sunday nights, set to “explore the fundamental values and principles undergirding American society, culture, politics, and current events,” according to production notes. The program will also showcase Mr. Levin’s “powerful debate style” and his prowess with politics, history, philosophy and economics. The incoming anchorman — who is also a constitutional lawyer — will also cover America’s founding, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
“As a proud citizen of the United States, I am delighted to share the significance of American values with such a wide audience and look forward to engaging with important guests about crucial topics,” says the gracious Mr. Levin, a former senior adviser in the Reagan administration and chief of staff to then-Attorney General Edwin Meese.
POLL DU JOUR
• 81 percent of Americans say they do not try to “emulate celebrity style.”
• 74 percent say the “only reason” why celebrities are fashionable is because they have money.
• 68 percent do not watch “red carpet arrivals” before major televised events.
• 63 percent say the media is “overly critical” of the way celebrities dress.
• 57 percent say a celebrity’s “stylist” influences their fashion decisions.
Source: A YouGov poll of 1,116 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 10-13.
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