War is yielding some self-promotion


March 27, 1991|By Steve McKerrow

The war in the Persian Gulf may be over, at least for the United States, but the media memory lingers on in an assortment of ways, some of them pretty self-promotional:

* WBAL-Channel 11, for example, yesterday premiered in its "Live At Five" newscast a music video it has co-produced with Sheffield Studios and some 50 local artists. It's titled "Welcome Home (Back from the Desert Sand)," and station news figures Rod Daniels, Liz O'Neil and Rob Roblin are in it.

You have not been paying attention, of course, if you have missed many other red-white-and-blue or yellow-ribbon promotional jingles and spots all over the airwaves -- welcoming the troops home, yes, but also plugging the stations or businesses involved.

* Americans have the disarming capacity to find humor in the most tragic circumstances, and the devastation and death in Iraq and Kuwait certainly qualify regardless of the relatively low American casualty toll.

Media Monitor's favorite laugh line comes from Cokie Roberts, the National Public Radio/ABC-TV commentator, who spoke Sunday night to a Washington gathering of the National Council of Marketing and Public Relations. (Officials from Maryland community colleges are hosts of the annual conference, concluding today at Washington's Omni Shoreham Hotel.)

Roberts noted it is now required that, for the first time in our history, we talk about "our men and women in the service" when referring to the Gulf war. Yet in past unisex wars, she recalled, the usual phrase was, "our boys fighting over there in Korea" or elsewhere.

"Then I thought, this was not the first time a woman turned a boy into a man," quipped Roberts.

* Washington's satirical song-and-dance troupe, The Capitol Steps, is also having some fun with the aftermath of war, especially the business side of things that has already produced a $1.3 billion U.S. weapons sale to Egypt.

One clever new number, styled after the rock world's anti-hunger song "We Are the World," has the company cynically singing "We Arm the World." And instead of the similar ongoing "Live Aid," the funny Steppers display a banner reading, "Live Grenade."

TWO SPORTS, THREE SHOWS -- Bo Jackson's playing career in major league football and baseball may or may not be over, but he was pretty nimble yesterday morning in spite of the crutches he must use because of a hip injury.

Dressed in plaid shirt and emotion-hiding dark glasses, Jackson did remote interviews (from St. Louis) in successive half-hours on ABC's "Good Morning America," NBC's "Today" and "CBS This Morning." He said pretty much the same thing in each: that he expects to heal "and do the same thing I've been doing for the last four years."

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