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Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:22 PM

‘Rise of the Drones’ Is Mostly a PBS Infomercial for the Military Defense Industry

‘Rise of the Drones’ Is Mostly a PBS Infomercial for the Military Defense Industry
By: Kevin Gosztola Thursday January 24, 2013 12:34 pm

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Screen shot from preview of Nova’s “Rise of the Drones”

The widely-acclaimed PBS program, NOVA, premiered a documentary on unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. The documentary, “Rise of the Drones,” was produced to explore how the technology is revolutionizing warfare and creating the next generation of cutting-edge surveillance. It was created to provide a glimpse at how the technology has advanced and how innovations might progress in the future.

Before the documentary began, PBS noted the program had received funding from the David H. Koch Foundation for Science. It also received “additional funding” from Lockheed Martin, which on its face looks like a violation of PBS’ underwriting guidelines.

Lockheed Martin is one of the nation’s biggest military defense contractors and is developing drones (in secret). The test PBS is supposed to apply to programs is three-fold and as follows:

Editorial Control Test: Has the underwriter exercised editorial control? Could it?
Perception Test: Might the public perceive that the underwriter has exercised editorial control?
Commercialism Test: Might the public conclude the program is on PBS principally because it promotes the underwriter’s products, services or other business interests?

Having Lockheed Martin provide any amount of money to a program that touts the amazing potential of innovations in drone technology appears to be a violation of both the “perception” and “commercialism” tests. Is it a violation?


In 2008, Lockheed Martin teamed up with Karem Aircraft Incorporated to develop “Karem Aircraft’s Optimum Speed Tilt-Rotor (OSTR) design. It was “one of three approaches selected by the Department of Defense (DoD) Joint Heavy Lift program office to receive a Concept Design and Analysis extension contract.” Karem Aircraft Incorporated was founded by Abe Karem. He appears in the documentary and, as The Economist has described him, he is the man who “created the robotic plane that transformed the way modern warfare is waged—and continues to pioneer other airborne innovations.” Karem talks about the advancement and benefits of drone technology. This is a clear conflict of interest.

MORE AT:

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/01/24/rise-of-the-drones-is-mostly-a-pbs-infomercial-for-the-military-defense-industry/

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Reply ‘Rise of the Drones’ Is Mostly a PBS Infomercial for the Military Defense Industry (Original post)
KoKo Jan 2013 OP
tammywammy Jan 2013 #1
kwassa Jan 2013 #2
Archae Jan 2013 #3
longship Jan 2013 #4

Response to KoKo (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:44 PM

1. The David H. Koch Foundation and Lockheed Martin sponsor all Nova episodes

I'm a regular watcher of Nova.

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Response to KoKo (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:51 PM

2. I watched this and didn't get that sense at all.

although I saw only a chunk of the second half of it.

There was a scene included where a protestor interrupted a government official to talk about all the innocent civilians killed by drones. The documentary also talked about the moral issues briefly, because the big question is how they are used. There were questions asked that weren't necessarily answered.

It was mostly about the technology, though, which was actually quite fascinating.

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Response to KoKo (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:04 PM

3. I saw the whole thing...

It sure didn't look like an "ad for drones."

It didn't come across as a "All drones is BAD!" -type show either.

The moral issues were touched on, but mostly as was said, it was a look at the technology.

And the technology is improving, especially robotics and imaging.

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Response to KoKo (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:56 PM

4. I didn't at all see it that way.

First, David Koch funds ALL NOVA episodes, as does Lockheed Martin AFAIK.

Second, NOVA is not Frontline or Independent Lens. It is not a political program, it is a science program. So the program did not make any judgement on the ethics of drones. The purpose was to cover, in a dispassionate way, the technology and prospects of the technology. Nothing more.

However, they did cover the issue of the ethical dilemmas. I hope you recall that. They just did not make any judgement on those ethics, which is how NOVA handles such things. I see nothing wrong with that.

I found the program very interesting and I am glad they broadcast it.

I do not agree with your post but I am R&King it anyway as I feel these discussions are important.

R&K

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