I was just as shocked as some of you when I heard this. How can a man who has attacked family members who support the war be honored for supporting military families?
To recognize his continuous support and recognition of sailors, Marines and their families throughout his 17 years on television, the Navy presented its Superior Public Service Award to Montel Williams yesterday in New York during the taping of his long-running program’s final show.
Navy Capt. Kenneth J. Braithwaite II, a rear admiral selectee and director of Joint Public Affairs Support Element Reserve, presented the award to Williams on behalf of Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead. The Superior Public Service Award is the second-highest award presented to civilians by the Department of the Navy.
The Navy has no shortage of heroes to honor lately. Apparently it’s not Montel’s recent actions, but his previous actions that got him the honor of which he was bestowed.
During annual holiday shows in his television program’s long run, Williams has reunited deployed sailors with their families. In 2006, he and a production crew flew to the Navy Central Command/5th Fleet area of responsibility to tour Iraqi oil platforms and meet with deployed sailors aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.
His program frequently has featured guests from nonprofit organizations that support service members to highlight their efforts. Throughout his 17 years on televisions, Williams continuously shared with audience members and viewers the importance of supporting the military and recognized sailors’ personal sacrifices in service to their country.
I used to watch Montel when I was a kid, and went to school with a girl who was his neighbor. She said he was a dick to everyone in the neighborhood. I’m well aware of Montel’s past efforts with military families, and his own military service. However, his recent actions were the exact opposite of his previous positive dealings with military families. It’s Montel’s recent behavior that should have been considered before this award was presented to him.
In case you’ve forgotten Montel’s recent attacks on military families … perhaps this will refresh your memory.
One year ago, Montel invited military families onto his show. The families were told the show was about deployments and the effects they have on military families. Sounds like one of Montel’s traditional positive segments on military families, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case … it was a trap. I’ll let one of Montel’s victims explain it to you in her own words.
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.
As soon as the opening tape began to roll, hubby and I were uncomfortable. Montel was using this episode to discuss the debilitating illnesses some military members have suffered from anthrax inoculations. Using footage with the flag and men in uniform, Montel referred several times to military members being “guinea pigs”, repeated several times about the mandatory vaccine which he presented as going to everyone with no one being able to refuse it.
Keep in mind this is from the mouth of a military spouse, not a third party observer.
When the military group attending pointed out that we were very uncomfortable with the way Montel was presenting this issue, we were told to bring these points up at the microphone. I did right before one break, but the flurry of activity and the back it up motions and the replaying of the music made it seem as though my valid counter-points were going to be cut and not included. Other family members asked for a more balanced presentation during break times.
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.”
You can read the full post on the event here. If you do a search for this topic you will find hundreds of bloggers posting on the issue. This despicable behavior on Montel’s part would not be the last.
The next month Montel would strike again. Confederate Yankee wrote about another military member who had been treated less than pleasantly by Montel on his show.
For Frasier, the sharpest memories are of moments that never made the air from the show taped in New York.
When she told Williams she was treated well by the Department of Veterans Affairs, he seemed to lose interest and moved quickly to another segment, she said.
During a commercial break, though, he gestured to her and commented, “This soldier’s not going to complain,” Frasier said.
She was whisked away to the airport and never spoke again to Williams, she said.
In other words, Montel was only looking for military personnel who wanted to complain about how they were treated, and wasn’t at all interested in those who had a pleasant experience. There were more exchanges in regards to these stories posted here as well.
These blatant attempts to portray the military in a negative light should have been enough to disqualify Montel for this “honor.” Lying to military personnel and their families, ambushing them on national television, not presenting their point of view, editing out comments they’ve made, and plainly harassing these great people is nothing to be rewarded. Montel was honored for lifting up the military and their families, but what about his actions in deliberately tearing them down in an effort to discredit the war?