I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I learned a whole lot about the TV that my parents grew up on in a class I took this past semester, America in the 1970s. Even though we never mad e it to the 80s and the greatest series ever aired (“Cheers”), learning about the decade of “All in the Family” and “Happy Days” finally introduced me to shows that I’d heard of but never seen or taken much interest in. Besides Hawaii Five-O, of course, but only because my dad insisted that I experience some of the original in order to better understand the remake. Our class also briefly discussed news coverage during the decade. I read a bit about ABC’s coverage of the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich and then decided to check out a Wikipedia article on the subject. As is usually the case, that sent me off on an hour-long curiosity tangent. Wikipedia may not be the greatest source to cite on OU papers, but it sure is informative (and uniquely capable of sucking the reader into a never-ending adventure of clicking through links).
As I learned that day, the 1972 Summer Olympics played host to a tragic terrorist attack that successfully targeted the Israeli Olympic team and resulted in the deaths of 11 members of the squad. I had heard of the Munich Massacre before, but was shocked to read about how poorly the entire affair was managed. Germany received multiple credible warnings of a threat prior to the Olympics, even some that specified that an attack would be carried out by Palestinian terrorists, and yet the government took no precautions against it and then mounted a failed rescue attempt that got every hostage killed. Far too little, far too late. According to the reading, ABC’s coverage of the events helped the network gain significant credibility, which nowadays seems like a no-brainer – reporting on tragedies is easy and sure to generate views and ratings. Shameless plug – Bastille’s most recent album discusses our fascination with violence and tragedy on the 24 hour news cycle; both the music and message are top notch.
I also stumbled across the documentation of Mossad’s response to the Black September attack (Black September was the organization that carried out the attack). Those guys and gals do not mess around. Operation “Wrath of God” wasn’t just a revenge plot; it was a calculated, decades-long campaign to rack up a serious body count in a very public, yet deniable fashion. A few hours prior to each assassination, Mossad would deliver flowers and a note to the family of the target. “A reminder we do not forget or forgive.” Yikes.