(Background: McSweeney’s, being concerned with the limitless, unadulterated flow of information — unless it’s the kind of information that might upset people — has recently noticed an extremely unsettling problem, a problem even more unsettling in these times of so-called “prosperity,” and “freedom of speech.” The problem is disturbingly simple: every year, many, many, many worthy press releases are being ignored. They are going under-reprinted, under-blurbed, under-bullet-pointed and underused as foundation for spunky lifestyle section featurettes by the nation’s supposedly free media outlets.
We ask: why? Why must this be? What are all these fatcat editors and journalists doing, if not cribbing stories from the PR wire? Where are they getting their holier-than-thou ideas, if not from the interesting, fact-filled stories about the very companies who pay the salaries of a whole lot of the people who read the same newspapers and magazines for which these fatcats work? As the late philosopher R. Plant wrote: Makes you wonder. Oooh, it makes you wonder.
In response, McSweeney’s has created this, an annual survey of the year’s most ignored PR missives, titled, as noted above, THE TOP TEN CENSORED PRESS RELEASES OF 1998. On an occasional sort of basis, we will reprint these press releases, unabridged and unedited. Read them — if you care about America, and freedom, and your children, who are the future, that is.)
NO. 9 MOST CENSORED PRESS RELEASE OF 1998
Old Hollywood Falls Out to Honor Funnyman, Tim Conway, as “Veteran of the Year.”
Event Launches the ‘Take A.I.M.’ Youth Educational Program Focusing on Awareness, Image and Morale Issues in an On-Going Effort to Instruct Our Nation’s Youth.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ — Old Hollywood falls out to honor comedian, Tim Conway, as “Veteran of the Year” on Friday, December 4, 1998 at 11:30 a.m. at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Hundreds of celebrities, dignitaries, corporate executives and military flag officers will gather under one roof for the 1998-99 “Veteran of the Year” awards luncheon.
Live comedy entertainment includes master of ceremonies, Steve Allen, and performers Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Carol Burnett, Ronnie Schell, Ernest Borgnine, Marty Ingels and Fred Travalena. Additionally, the Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band will perform the patriotic opening. Superstar M.C. Hammer and Kimaya Seward, former lead vocalist of the internationally famed Hiroshima, will debut the original song, “Take A.I.M.” The song will serve as the theme for VFI’s youth educational program, “Take A.I.M.”
This military-themed luncheon produced by Veterans Foundation Incorporated (VFI) and co-hosted by George Elkins Property Management Company will playfully celebrate a G.I.’s favorite two words — “Mess Hall.” An Army of honored guests will be in attendance including the Honorable Hershel Gober, Deputy Secretary of Veteran Affairs; Honorable Gil Coronado, Director, Selective Service System; Mike Antonovich, Los Angeles County Supervisor Fifth District; and celebrities Dean Cain, Sid Caesar, Jan Murphy, Alex Trebek, Dick Van Patten, Carl Reiner, Gary Busey and Shelley Michelle, “Miss Armed Forces,” to name a few.
Conway, a five-time Emmy Award winner, is a Korean War-Era veteran, serving in the US Army from 1956 through 1958, was chosen to receive the “Veteran of the Year” award for his impressive record of charitable service, as well as, for his outstanding success as a veteran entertainer. He has helped to boost the morale of numerous troops through his Special Services Show performances plus a myriad of television and feature films including McHale’s Navy.
Sierra Entertainment Corporation submitted the winning nomination. As the 1998-99 “Veteran of the Year,” Tim Conway has also been designated the national “Take A.I.M.” spokesman. “Take A.I.M.,” which focuses on awareness, image and morale issues in an on-going effort to instruct our nation’s youth on the honorable history, sacrifice and important peacetime responsibilities of the US. Armed Forces.
“Because of the patriotic men and women that elect to wear a military uniform of a branch of the United States Armed Forces, we are a free nation and we will remain so,” said Conway. “Their willingness to stand ready to stave off the aggression and to protect the freedom so many have risked their lives to preserve, makes us forever thankful to those that have served and to those yet to serve. I, together with VFI, encourage all civilians to show their admirable respect and uplifting support of our Armed Forces not only during times of conflict but also during times of peace.”
VFI, a nationally recognized non-profit, public benefit organization has conducted the “Veteran of the Year” search since 1985. On local, state and national levels, VFI targets the areas of research and development, education, employment and philanthropy to instill long-term programs that benefit not only veterans, but also their spouses and children, and the community at large. VFI’s charitable projects have taken homeless veterans off the streets, provided needed medical care to indigent areas, promoted veterans as viable candidates for employment, allowed youth to learn first-hand their nation’s history, and bridged the ever-widening gap between the military and the citizenry it protects and represents.p