Media War Coverage From the beginning of time when humans started fighting wars regardless of the reasoning leaders discovered how important propaganda and the public’s opinion of why they were fighting the war. If the nation’s leaders believes in why they are fighting a war the Country willbe more likely to give their support and motivated to stay in the fight for the long haul. Edward R. Murrow, former reporter for CBS once said, “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.
We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were, for the moment unpopular. ” A delicate balance exists between the military and the media censorship and evolution of wartime media from WWII through modern day WAR in Iraq. World War II coverage came mostly through newspapers and radio coverage.
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During this time journalist had a good relationship with the military, both were working toward a common goal that would bring an end to Adolf Hitler’s war machine, which was determined to take over the world! Without being heavily censored by military leader reporters were able to provide much more coverage of the war. Reporters during this time were at a much larger disadvantage compared to reporters of today because of their technological disadvantage.
What would take journalist during World War II hours if not days to report battles or events through radio, print, or even telegraph was plenty of time for the military to screen the story. But it also provided a buffer of time to prevent any issues of violation what is known as operational security. In other words by the time the story reached its viewers in the United States a potential battle plan had already been executed. The soldiers involved wouldn’t be in any danger of valuable information reaching the enemy.
Not to mention if a battle went particularly wrong there was time to adjust or screen a story in order to portray it in a different light that may be more favorable. Vietnam armed with newer technology allowing the average American family to have a television in every living room created a way to usher in graphic images of the war. No longer could we use the view the war over there as a separate entity being left over there and nor were reporters on the battle field as highly censored they were able to relay events on the battlefield and the reality in pictures of what combat was truly like.
Because we now possessed the technology so Americans at home could see war first hand. Young Americans formed their own opinions of the war causing protest swaying public opinion and subsequently support for the war causing a large Anti-war feeling. Ho Chi Minh and the Communist north believed that with the American public losing confidence in the Unites States government. Since the mainstream media were not in support of the war, media portraying the violence and how the US progress in Vietnam in a negative light that eventually was said to be the motivation leading to the pull out of Vietnam.
The concept of winning by proxy meaning: to simply wait out the enemy until they lose the will of the people to continue to fight. The theory held by the enemy proved to be correct due to the lack of media support helping to drive the motivation of the people and the length of the war dragging on over several years the United States did eventually pull out of Vietnam. During the Gulf War the media had progressed and had grown leaps and bounds since Vietnam. The technology currently available allowed reporters to report from hotel rooms within Kuwait during the air campaign in the early hours of Desert Storm.
New companies such as CNN had correspondents bringing up to date information and developments from the beginning of Operation Desert shield to the building up of forces. The destruction of SADAAM Hussein’s Army as it moved waged its campaign against Kuwait through the liberation of Kuwait. The images we saw of Scud attacks and Victory parades were brought to us twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. The positive view portrayed by the media had a direct affect on the public’s view on the war. From the beginning of the War on Terror Allied reporters who were covering stories for both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Allied reporters were imbedded with American troops fighting on the battlefield, these reporters were able to use satellite cards for access to the Internet and laptops were able to report from anywhere on the battle field up to date information on the progress of operations and how the war was going with virtually little to no chance of the military censorship. Reporter’s ability to use technology to avoid censorship was evident with the opening of the ground war in Iraq; a reporter named Jeraldo Rivera announced planned movements of American troops on television. Mr.
Rivera was being broadcasted internationally creating the potential for the enemy to be better prepared for the oncoming attacks by the American Forces. Powerful Photo essays and Internet blogs often show the harsh side of war, unlike the harsh side of WWII where media images were more benign. The one constant through history has always been evident and media wither or not being censored is powerful in determining the support in a nation and in many cases the outcome of success or failure in a conflict. A. Censorship War Coverage: Barhart, Aaron. “Speeding Up War Coverage. ” Television Week.
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Miller, Clyde. The Process of Persuasion. New York: Crown Publishers, 1946. Pratkanis, Anthony and Aronson, Elliot. Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1991. Rank, Hugh. Language and Public Policy. New York: Citation Press, 1974. Thum, Gladys and Thum, Marcella. The Persuaders: Propaganda in War and Peace. New York: Atheneum, 1972. C. How Media Coverage of the Vietnam War Changed America, Journalism Cossa, Frank. Photojournalism and the “War at Home”. 19 October 2005. Digital History, The Vietnam War.
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