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Letter to ABC- 1983

Your panel was loaded with thugs and apologists for administration bathos and self serving. The only human beings on it were Koppel, Sagan, and Weisel. Where was a woman? Where was Dr. Helen Caldicott, one of the most humane and corageous and articulate anti-nuclear spokespersons on the planet? She said in a speech here several years ago that she had been trying to get on the major networks fro years with her message. If she wasn't available, which I doubt, why wasn't there another woman of equal intelligence and righteous wrath? Were you afraid a woman would show up the masculine imbecility for what it is?

You were so worried the film would be political that you denuded it. And then as a sop to the far right and to the administration, you gave us The Four Thugs Plan Nuclear War. introduced by that administration zombie, Thick Shoes Schlesinger.

I, sirs and madams, do not usually watch television. I think the medium is an abomination. It does not serve thought and it provides nothing you can't find in a book, whether novels, poems, histories, or travel books. Along with missiles, it is civilizations worst shuck. However, as television will most probably continue to exist as a cocaine fore the mind, it is time for the networks to be more responsible. The old saws: profit over thought, money before consequence and make a buck anyway you can, were changed in 1945 when those alchemists in the Devil's employ mixed up their wormy batches. Unless you get more political, meaning air time for liberal as well as conservative thought, we will all blister in the red-gold alchemical fire!

Why not document on Hiroshima on prime time? A documentary on how the everyday Russian lives? Sped five of your so-called precious seconds of air time with a camera focused on a Russian child's face, and ask the question then, can we even consider firing one nuke? If it means losing some sponsors to save your souls, make the obvious choice. We no longer have time to mess around with the mental machinations of the Buckleys, the Scowcrofts, and the Kissingers. Have more courage, for all of our sakes.

I have gotten worked up – and I could as easily and justifiably be writing to CBS or NBC – because television is the major opinion influencer in this country. But real thought, real concern, real debate, is relegated to the alternate channels, such as KOED here in the San Francisco Bay area. But most people watch the major channels, let's face it. As Jerry Mander points out in his book, Four Arguments Against Television, television exists for the sake of the advertiser and not for the sake of the viewer. It is time to reverse that process. IF we must live with the plastic glass Baal, we deserve better information, true dramas, debate in depth and a disaster film that moves us to action.

In 1945 I was 10 years old and living in Richland, Washington, the community that houses most Hanford workers. My father was a blue collar worker who helped, either directly or indirectly, mix the batch of plutonium that got stuffed into Fat Man that shat fire on Nagasaki. We all thought it was great. Hooray for our side!

There are no sides left. It is imperative we take the Buddhist position that all life is holy, the least cricket on the sill, the mouse behind the drywall.

Remember the face of the Russian child I proposed above. Make it your mission and responsibility to program truth, in the name of all life on this planet.

-William Witherup
November 21, 1983


From the author:
The ABC Response to my letter was a standard 3 X 5 postcard, with my name typed in the blank space, which said, in effect, Thank You, Mr. Witherup, for your response and support of The Day After. Unfortunately, due to volume of mail, we cannot answer each letter personally.

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