War Contingency Rehearsal, Part I

March 12th, 2003

I spent the bulk of today here at the MTV in the TRL studios downstairs doing what we refer to as “War Contingency Rehearsal.” That is, if and when this war with Iraq begins, MTV News will be going live on air for 4+ hours. Which may well be more than MTV News has ever gone live before. And it’ll certianly be a far more grave situation than anything we’ve done before. (Grammys? Video Music Awards? Please.)

So there we were, all of us, including on air talent — basically acting like Bush had given the go, and the shit had hit the fan. Acting it out, script, graphics, and packages included. I’m basically charged with assuring that MTVNews.com user email and poll data is represented on air, and dealing with any surprises. I’ve never really been on set, so it’s kind of exciting. But the entire time we’re doing this, I’m hoping we don’t have to actually do it.

In fact, I can’t believe that we’re here, on the brink of war, at all. I’ve been a fairly voracious reader of war non-fiction in the last year, specifically WWII books like “Band of Brothers,” and I’ve been watching and re-watching many of the classic war films, like “The Fighting Seabees” and “The Longest Day,” and on that data alone I feel informed enough to say “What the fuck?” I mean, how many missing limbs or severed heads do we need to see before we stop making it happen? I certianly don’t condone aggression or nuclear weapons or what have you, and I’m not naive enough to think we can go backwards, but one would think we could keep a cool hear about this whole thing and be patient with inspectors and such.

I dunno’. None of that came out as articulately as I was thinking about it while I was watching it all unfold downstairs. There’s a lot of uncertainty right now. I just hope it all turns out allright.