Yesterday, The Grand Rapids Press published an online article (“Students, veterans moved by school ceremony, visit from Blackhawk helicopter“) that is a classic example of how the major media often aids the military in finding recruits.
The article by Ron Cammel details a Veterans Day ceremony at Kent City High School. The ceremony featured the usual themes of sacrifice and duty to one’s country, as well as an unusual surprise–a Michigan Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter.
However, such appearances are not rare. The military regular engages in activities such as this–or driving souped up Hummers into inner city school districts–in the hopes that they will both attract recruits and get free media coverage. In 2007, Dianne Farsetta at the public relations watchdog group the Center for Media and Democracy wrote about how the military collaborates with public relations firms and major media gain new recruits.
It appears the Press may be the military’s most recent collaborator. The article says nothing critical about military service and features a quote that all to clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of such stunts:
“‘Because of today, I want to join the Army,’ said Jesse, whose uncle is serving in Iraq. ‘I want my freedoms, and I want to be what my uncle is.'”
The local broadcast media also got in on the story, with WZZM 13 running a similar story featuring dramatic footage of the helicopter landing.