Academic journal article Journalism History

Book Reviews -- the Military and the Media: Why the Press Cannot Be Trusted to Cover a War by William V. Kennedy

Academic journal article Journalism History

Book Reviews -- the Military and the Media: Why the Press Cannot Be Trusted to Cover a War by William V. Kennedy

Article excerpt

Kennedy, William V. The Military and the Media: Why the Press Cannot Be Trusted To Cover a War. Westport, Conn: Praeger Publishers, 1993. 184 pages. $45.

The Military and the Media by William V. Kennedy argues that journalists are too ignorant to inform the American public about military affairs. This claim is accurate but not new. What is new is Kennedy's solution: restructure the press to be more like the army. "It is the press itself," says Kennedy in the book's last line, "by adherence to outmoded concepts of organization and training, that has created the danger that now exists."

What makes The Military and the Media unique is Kennedy's voice as a military insider as well as a journalist. His twin careers began just after World War II and culminated in his retirement from the U.S. Army Reserve as a colonel in 1982. Soon afterward, he was one of the authors of he Intelligence War.

Kennedy contends that the press' failing during the Persian Gulf War was not its compliance to pool schemes but rather its ignorance that the U.S. response to Iraq's incursion into Kuwait was woefully late, uncoordinated, and almost catastrophic. He says the premature commitment of inadequate ground forces in Saudi Arabia could have forced President George Bush to use nuclear weapons had Iraq dashed for Saudi ports and airfields before an overwhelming allied counterforce arrived.

The great untold story of the war was the brilliant performance of the Army's "air cavalry"--AH-64 "Apache" attack helicopters of the 101st Airborne Division. Kennedy notes they started the ground war, led highly-touted but sluggish mechanized units by no less than seven hours, blinded the enemy's radar systems, and closed the Iraqi army's "back door" in the Euphrates River Valley. "The attack helicopter is taking the place of the tank as the centerpiece of land warfare," he says. …

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