Commentary and links relating to media coverage of war; both before, during, and after.

William A. Dorman is Professor of Government at California State University, Sacramento, and has taught a course in War, Peace and the Mass Media since 1970.

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War, Peace, and the Mass Media
Wednesday, June 08, 2005  
War Policy,
Public Support,
and the Media


From Parameters,
Summer 2005, pp. 121-34.

Blog editor's note: Colonel William M. Darley is a Public Affairs officer, currently serving as Director of Strategic Communications, and Editor in Chief of Military Review, US Army Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Parameters is the US Army War College's Quarterly .

Perhaps no element of the current conflict in Iraq engenders more emotion and acrimony within the military than debate concerning the role and influence of the news media on public opinion and national policy. Debates regarding this subject are nothing new. Since at least the Civil War, anecdotal assertions associated with media influence on American wars have caused controversy among government officials, members of the military, scholars, pundits, and members of the press as they continue to argue the media’s effects. Historically, contention over the issue of media influence has become particularly acute when the policies of the administration executing the conflict are perceived as being either too slow, or failing, to achieve their political objectives at the cost of mounting casualties.

Under such circumstances, critics of the press have been predictable in accusing the media of editorial bias that undermines public support for military operations, while most reporters have been equally predictable in countering that they are just faithfully reporting what they observe...As a result of this reemerging debate, it is useful and appropriate to revisit the relationship of press reporting, public opinion, and war policy, and to seek a theoretical understanding of how these relate to each other.

To read the full text, see Parameters

7:21 AM

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