The Military and the Media: Why the Press Cannot Be Trusted to Cover a War

By William V. Kennedy | Go to book overview

complaint only as a "weekly," presumably from somewhere in southern Illinois.

Why? Because the Times, according to sources at Columbia University who do not wish to be further identified, controls the Pulitzer process. It intervenes directly only when major institutional interests are at stake, as in the Halberstam and Salisbury cases, and is content to sprinkle around awards to other major dailies -- even to its last direct competitor in New York -- as an aristocratic beneficence. Thus, the Army Times criticism of the award was as much an embarrassment to the New York Times, the power behind the Pulitzer scene, as it was to Newsday. 33

From Grenada to the Sloyan Pulitzer, nothing has gone right for the press in its relationship to the U.S. military, but the name of that disaster is not Grenada, or Panama, or the Gulf War. It is Vietnam, and it is the result of the press's refusal to frankly assess its own role both in creating that catastrophe and in using Harry Summers's On Strategy to avoid making the necessary corrections.


NOTES
1
James Reston, "The End of the Tunnel", (Op Ed), New York Times, 30 April 1975.
2
U.S. Department of the Army, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, "Study Directive: Strategic Lessons Learned in Vietnam", 18 November 1978.
3
Chandler Goodnow, Louis G. Michael, Edward A. Partain, and Sidney R. Steele , "News Coverage of the Tet Offensive" (Research paper, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa., 25 March 1969).
5
William V. Kennedy, "Press Coverage of the War in Vietnam: The Third View", U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, 25 May 1979.
6
This was published initially as a War College document and later, in 1983, under commercial imprint by Presidio, San Francisco.
7
Burns W. Roper, "What Public Opinion Polls Said", Big Story, vol. 1 ( Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1977), 674-704.
8
Ibid., 671.
9
William C. Westmoreland, conversation with author, Carlisle Barracks, Pa., 1978.
10
Arthur A. Humphries, "Two Routes to the Wrong Destination: Public Affairs in the South Atlantic War", Naval War College Review ( May-June 1983): 56-71 (emphasis added).
11
Richard M. Clurman, "The Media Learn a Lesson" (Op-Ed), New York Times, 2 December 1983.
12
Jonathan Friendly, "Joint Chiefs Plan New Press Policy", New York Times, 2 February 1984, p. A7.

-125-

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The Military and the Media: Why the Press Cannot Be Trusted to Cover a War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Notes xi
  • 1 - Why the Press Cannot Be Trusted to Cover A War 1
  • Notes 11
  • 2 - The Roots of Conflict 13
  • Notes 18
  • 3 - Television: The Here, Now, and Obituary Medium 21
  • Notes 39
  • 4 - The Dailies: Shaky Bedrock 41
  • Note 58
  • 5 - The Wire Services: The Weakest Reed 61
  • Notes 71
  • 6 - The Magazines 73
  • Notes 85
  • 7 - Vietnam: The Watershed 87
  • Notes 104
  • 8 - Aftermath 109
  • Notes 125
  • 9 - Managing the "Right to Lie" 129
  • Notes 140
  • 10 - How to Defeat the "Right to Lie" 143
  • Notes 154
  • Epilogue 157
  • Select Bibliography 159
  • Index 163
  • About the Author *
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