Please update your browser

You're using a version of Internet Explorer that isn't supported by Questia.
To get a better experience, go to one of these sites and get the latest
version of your preferred browser:

Contention Sure to Persist between Pentagon, News People: Gulf War II Brought a New Relationship between Military and the Press

By Anderson, Laird B. | The Masthead, Autumn 2003 | Go to article overview

Contention Sure to Persist between Pentagon, News People: Gulf War II Brought a New Relationship between Military and the Press


Anderson, Laird B., The Masthead


"Open and independent reporting will be the principal means of coverage of U.S. military operations."

That's the first of nine principles for future war coverage hammered out by a group of journalists and the Pentagon in early 1992. The idea was to improve the dismal media/military relationship that was so evident during the Persian Gulf War, known as Operation Desert Storm, or Gulf War I.

One of the negotiators, Stanley Cloud, then Washington Bureau chief of Time magazine, challenged a Pentagon claim that the Persian Gulf War had prompted "the best war coverage" in U.S. history. Writing in The New York Times, Cloud took the position that "Desert Storm was certainly the worst-covered major U.S. conflict in this century."

Well, maybe.

In a Columbia Journalism Review piece, Neil Hickey, a CJR editor, wrote, "Journalists have been denied access to American troops in the field in Afghanistan to a greater degree than in any previous war involving U.S. military forces."

Well, take your pick.

What's clear is that journalists returning from Gulf War I, and more recently from Afghanistan, were nearly unanimous in thumping government-imposed media restrictions.

The situation needed major surgery. So now we have the Pentagon-inspired concept of "embedding" journalists to travel with and observe combat units.

For Operation Iraqi Freedom, Gulf War II, some 600 reporters signed on. Most went through a "boot camp" run by U.S. and British trainers to help prepare them for what they could expect in the field.

Overall, embedding and the pre-assignment physical and mental training have received enthusiastic media support although some reporters chose not to embed and, rather, roamed on their own, often dangerously, as "unilaterals" (Sixteen journalists, embedded or unilateral, died as a result of war wounds or accidents during Gulf War II.)

There has also been criticism, much from purists who suspect such close linkage as impeding press independence.

Contention between the media and the military has been a constant since the Crimean War (1853-1855), when the first "professional" war correspondents, three British reporters, arrived at the battle scene and infuriated commanders with their vivid, opinionated, and frequently distorted writing. Contention is likely to remain a feature of the relationship, but from now on, one hopes, in a more healthy give-and-take environment.

My view about the permanence of continued conflict stems from a 31-year career in the active and reserve Army as an infantry and special forces officer and as a journalist. This view was reinforced from developing and teaching a course last fall I called "The Media and the Military: Communication in Conflict."

In American journalism, writing about military affairs got off to a shaky start during the Revolutionary War, sputtered during the War of 1812, and made slow progress during the Mexican War. It was the Civil War that spurred professional war coverage here.

The Spanish-American War coincided with the outrageously flamboyant "yellow journalism" era, when journalistic excesses of publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst drove military and civilian officials to ban reporters from the combat zones.

World War I brought severe censorship, which was reinstated at the outset of World War II. Most correspondents displayed a patriotic kinship with the war effort and largely accepted the restrictions.

The Korean War saw a replacement of government-imposed censorship with a media-created form of self-censorship. Guidelines were drafted by news organizations. Later, media representatives, surprisingly, urged the military to reimpose precise censorship rules along the lines of those used in World War II. The media guidelines, they indicated, were confusing.

The Pentagon smiled on print and broadcast media during the Vietnam War, at least for a while.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Contention Sure to Persist between Pentagon, News People: Gulf War II Brought a New Relationship between Military and the Press
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.