The Veterans of Foreign Wars is slamming the CBS network over an episode of “The Amazing Race” that features the competitors in Hanoi learning to sing a communist victory song as part of their competition.
A downed American B-52 converted to a memorial was used as a backdrop in the March 17 episode, VFW National Commander John Hamilton said.
“The B-52 scene, as well as the young people singing a propaganda song, was totally unnecessary to the show’s plot, which speaks volumes about naïve producers who think they’re in charge when they are not,” Hamilton wrote in a nearly 500-word letter to CBS President Les Moonves.
Chris Ender, executive vice president for communications at CBS, said the network would not comment.
“The Amazing Race” is a reality TV series in which two-person teams race each other to specific places in the world, complete some task and locate clues that will lead them to the next destination and trial.
Hamilton granted that Moonves may not be aware of what is coming up in Sunday night’s episode, “but you certainly do now. I urge far greater executive oversight over what’s aired under the CBS logo.”
He said the anger of the VFW’s 2 million members is directed at the network.
Hamilton, a Marine infantryman in Vietnam, said the show would have done better to use the upcoming episode in a way that educates Americans about the divisive war.
“ I left Vietnam on a stretcher in 1970 after being wounded a third time as a Marine Corps rifleman, but I have been very fortunate to have returned several times to meet the people and to discuss the war with my former enemy, many of whom are now helping to recover the remains of missing Americans,” Hamilton wrote. “To the Vietnamese, their war with America was a drop in the bucket compared to fighting the French for a century and the Chinese for a millennia, but to many VFW comrades and fellow Vietnam Veterans, that war continues to influence our daily lives.”
He said the network is reopening old wounds with what it is showing in Vietnam.
“The Vietnam Generation and our nation deserve and expect much better from your network,” he said.