There’s something so all-American about our entertainment business; it’s often said to be one of the country’s biggest and best exports. In fact, recent Wikileaks revealed that American media may be our best weapon to win the “war of ideas” against anti-American sentiment in Muslim countries. According to diplomatic cables recently leaked, American programming is “popular and effective in fighting Islamic extremism.”
The documents reveal that, “The [Saudi] government is pushing this new openness as a means of countering the extremists… It’s still all about the War of Ideas here, and the American programming…is winning over ordinary Saudis in a way that…other US propaganda never could. Saudis are now very interested in the outside world, and everybody wants to study in the US if they can. They are fascinated by US culture in a way they never were before.”
And what programming are they watching that is making such a difference? Apparently, shows like Desperate Housewives and Friends contribute to these positive impressions about Americans. A report on this subject from ABC World News with Diane Sawyer added that David Letterman was admired as an “Agent of Change” for his freedom in criticizing the government, and George Clooney was admired for his “heroic honesty in the face of corruption” in the film Michael Clayton.
Many of the shows highlighted here at RebootTheMedia have socially responsible content that otherwise all too often doesn’t see the light of day in the media. But sometimes it’s just the everyday stuff of our lives, shared through our favorite characters and personalities, that makes all the difference. Sometimes, just seeing the stories of people like us, people we wish we knew, or people we want to be like, is all it takes to win the war of ideas.