The Military and the Press: An Uneasy Truce (Medill Visions by Michael S. Sweeney

By Michael S. Sweeney

Because information is a weapon of war--affecting public opinion, troop morale, even strategy--for greater than a century America's wartime officers have sought to manage or effect the click, so much lately via "embedding" journalists inside of army devices in Iraq. This moment entrance, the place press freedom and army imperatives frequently do conflict, is the territory explored in The army and the Press, a heritage of ways press-military kin have advanced throughout the 20th and twenty-first century based on the calls for of politics, economics, expertise, and criminal and social forces.

Author Michael S. Sweeney takes a chronological technique, contemplating freedoms and restraints equivalent to the 1st modification, court docket judgements, and executive and army directives that experience affected the click in the course of global Wars I and II, the Korean battle, the Vietnam conflict, and the newer conflicts. He explores the continued topics of wartime censorship and propaganda, in addition to operational defense within the conflict region. In chapters addressing the hot shift in army approach in facing the click, Sweeney discusses new kinds of control--from embedding newshounds and discouraging unaccredited "unilaterals" to constructing the inside track time table via a barrage of briefings, sound bites, and visuals and appeals to patriotism that border on household propaganda. With profiles of some particular journalists--from Richard Harding Davis protecting the Spanish-American conflict to Christiane Amanpour reporting from the conflicts in Bosnia and Iraq--this deft mix of journalistic historical past and research should still function a call-to-arms to a public no longer continuously good served by means of a military-press standoff.

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The American press did not experience explicit military censorship until 1725, during one of the periodic Indian wars. ” Censorship has continued, in some form, in every war the United States has fought. Those who argue that a free press strengthens the nation by exposing its mistakes to public scrutiny have opposed wartime censorship, with varying success. During the Revolutionary War, anti-British papers took an active role in supporting combat. They relayed O N T H E S H O U L D E R S O F G I A N TS 9 crucial information of battles to an eager public, stirred up political passions, and helped unite the thirteen colonies into one nation.

The Massachusetts governor and members of the colony’s ruling council shuttered Harris’s paper. Some feared the loose cannon of an unfettered press. Others objected to his paper’s violent and salacious content. Still others saw unacceptable political intrigue in the possible alliance of Harris and the fiery cleric Cotton Mather. The American press did not experience explicit military censorship until 1725, during one of the periodic Indian wars. ” Censorship has continued, in some form, in every war the United States has fought.

During his travels, where he was welcomed by the Spanish authorities, he witnessed a firing squad execute a young insurgent in Santa Clara province. The resulting news story, “The Death of Rodriguez,” demonstrated his skill as an observer of detail as well as his penchant for romanticizing conflict. The farm boy met his fate with heroic nonchalance and a cigarette dangling from his lips. ” Thus was born the Hollywood cliché of the last cigarette for the condemned man. Later that year, Davis briefly covered the short GrecoTurkish War.

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