Academic journal article Military Review

Terrorism: Informing the Public

Academic journal article Military Review

Terrorism: Informing the Public

Article excerpt

Nancy Ethiel, ed., McCormick Tribune Foun. dation, Chicago, IL, 2002, 196 pages, free.

Terrorism: Informing the Public, an addition to the Cantigny Conference Series, is an academic work that turned into surprisingly well-presented, informative reading for those who delve into the shifting sands of media-governmental relationships.

The book's appearance is timely arriving during early 2003 at a time when the New York Times reported that the fear epidemic in the United States was spreading much faster than the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic. In the same issue of the Times, Frank Rich speculated that if cable television taught us anything during the Iraq war, it is this: battalions of anchors and high-tech correspondents can cover a conflict 24/7 and still tell less about what is really going on than could any 27 pre-digital reporters who accompanied the U.S. troops in Normandy on D-Day.

For those who want quick-fix answers, not much of a consensus emerges from Terrorism: Informing the Public. The government functionaries at the conference (and it is an impressive list) continue to assert that the media overdramatizes everything, while the media representatives' (an equally impressive list) knee-jerk retort that "no comment" answers given during the heat of terrorist strike will bring out instant analyses by outside experts just the Iraq war brought out a brigade of "rent-a-generals" and "rent-a-colonels. …

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