Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Wartime Images, Peacetime Wounds, the Media and the Gustafsen Lake Standoff

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Wartime Images, Peacetime Wounds, the Media and the Gustafsen Lake Standoff

Article excerpt

Sandra Lambertus, Wartime Images, Peacetime Wounds, The Media and the Gustafsen Lake Standoff (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004), xxi + 277pp. Cloth. £32. ISBN 0-8020-8745-0. Paper. £20. ISBN 0-8020-8551-2.

This case study of the interaction between the media, the RCMP and First Nations people during the Gustafsen Lake Standoff (BC) from June to September 1995 is excellent. It is one of the best media analyses I have read, and should become a classic in the field.

Although Lambertus is an anthropologist, she has done a better job of media analysis than many media scholars. The strength of the study lies in her commonsense view that to understand media, you need to understand how journalists work, and thus she critically examines not only media texts but also the contexts in which they were produced. Her thorough understanding of the rules of the game, both for reporters and RCMP media relations officers, gives depth to her arguments.

Through skilful gathering of evidence, Lambertus shows how the RCMP managed to break almost every rule in their own operations manual on media relations during the incident, manipulating journalists, giving out false information, and releasing names of young offenders as well as previous records of the accused. …

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