It's a scary impulse, but one that our media moguls surely
recognize. As they compete to satisfy it we're immersed in what's
lately been described as "militainment" news coverage,
particularly on the tube, that seems almost to revel in the
suspense and excitement, and inevitably the violence and
suffering, of combat.
Steve Ford, "So terrible we can't get enough," News Observer (Raleigh, NC), March 23, 2003
The symbiotic solution: send reality TV to war. Last week ABC announced Profiles from the Front Line, from producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down) and reality-TV wiz Bertram van Munster (Cops, The Amazing Race). The reality series, to air as soon as this summer, intends to tell the personal stories of soldiers in Afghanistan, the Philippines and beyond. On VH1's tentatively-titled Military Diaries (also aimed for summer), more than 60 soldiers with cameras will record their days and talk about how music helps them cope. (As Apocalypse Now taught us, rockin' tunes are integral to modern warfare.) And on March 29, CBS debuts AFP: American Fighter Pilot (produced by Top Gun director Tony Scott along with his brother Ridley), which follows three F-15 pilots through training. (The first season was shot before Sept. 11, but subjects were later reinterviewed about their war experience.)
This explosion of militainment comes after months in which the military has tightly controlled information and press movements in the war zones.
James Poniewozik, "That's Militainment!," Time Magazine, March 4, 2002
shock and awe