March 12, 2007

Montel Hell

You would expect a former military man like talk show host Montel Williams to take good care of the military families he invited on his show to talk about the stress deployments take on the husbands, wives and children left behind when our armed forces deploy overseas into a combat zone.

Instead, the 22-year veteran of the Marines and Navy ran a bait-and-switch, changing the subject to another topic, the problems encountered by some troops as the result of anthrax vaccinations. Williams heavily skewed reality to present only the side of this topic that would cause the most consternation, referred to the troops as "guinea pigs" repeatedly, and asserted that our military was being treated so badly that no one would ever volunteer for the armed forces again and that the draft would have to be reinstated.

The ambushed families were shocked and angered, as can evidenced in an accounting of the ordeal at SpouseBuzz, a military families web site:

The trouble started during the second taping, when we learned that Montel's agenda with military people wasn't what it had been portrayed to be when our group was invited to attend. And as military families have been burned so often by unscrupulous media members (I'm not attacking the ones who work professionally here!), we probably should have sensed it from the beginning. We were going to be ambushed.

And later:

But it got worse. The show was being presented in the most scaremongering fashion possible. There was only attention given to the worst cases. There was no attention given to those who had experienced no adverse affects, or only the mild swelling and soreness around the injection site, even though we had people like that present with us. There was no mention about the actual percentages such reactions actually occur in. And there was no mention of those, like an EOD friend of mine, who actually requested the vaccine and makes sure to keep it updated.

Finally, we all got up and left during a break before the taping was over. And I should probably add that there was a quite acrimonious exchange with Montel that resulted in one person being escorted out by the show security (who were very polite and professional, for the record). I did say, "You told us this was going to be about deployment, Montel!" to which the reply was, "Please, just leave." If there was any discussion of how deployment issues affect family members after we left, it happened without us. All I can say is that the direction and tone of the show definately made it look like the topic was not going to come up.

Ambushing military families is something that no American should stand for. If you would politely like to tell Montel Williams that you find his bait-and-switch attack deplorable, please contact the show via this form.

Our military families deserve better, especially from someone who should understand what these families are already going through with their military family members deployed overseas.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at March 12, 2007 08:26 AM

I don't remember any ill effects when I got the shots, nor from any with me at the time. Of course we were only a few compared to the many that received them, there are usually allergies associated with ANY vaccine and everyone was warned.

Posted by: Retired Navy at March 12, 2007 11:01 AM

Thanks for mustering up the outrage on this are you going to say anything about Walter Reed? Surely that deserves as much time as Montel, or the Jamil Hussein story...

Posted by: Frederick at March 12, 2007 11:18 AM

I'm so glad you are covering this story. Montel's treatment of these families is outrageous, especially considering he is a decorated veteran himself.

Our military families have gone through enough without being hoodwinked by Montel.

Posted by: lady redhawk at March 12, 2007 01:17 PM

Anthrax vaccinations? That's so 5-years ago. If Montel's going to go on a anti-military rant, he should at least find something more current.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at March 12, 2007 03:04 PM

It seems that selected, self agrandizing veterans think that becasue they once wore the uniform that qualifies them to deride others who did or still do. Think Kerry, Murtha, Montel at al.
Good company to avoid in my opinion, and I suspect they were good to avoid when in uniform as well. If you know what I mean. *spit*

Posted by: aridog at March 12, 2007 05:46 PM