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

By William V. Kennedy | Go to book overview

Epilogue
On May 21, 1992, fourteen months after the humiliating performance of the reporters covering the Persian Gulf War, Louis D. Boccardi, president of the AP, and other chief executives of print and broadcast news media obtained from the Department of Defense a nine-point "Statement of Principles" that will govern military-press relations in future emergencies."Open coverage" is the theme throughout, "except . . . " -- the exceptions are huge:
Except when pools "provide the only feasible means of early access to a military operation"
Except "for specific events, such as those at extremely remote locations or where space is limited"
Except when "Special Operations restrictions may limit access in some cases"

Any Pentagon staff officer who cannot use those "exceptions" to ensure tightly controlled, portal-to-portal pool operations should have his or her buttons snipped off.

Field commanders "will permit journalists to ride on military vehicles and aircraft whenever feasible." The Navy for its entire history has determined that "whenever feasible" means whenever there is assurance that the resulting prose and pictures will glorify the Navy and Marine Corps.

"Consistent with its capabilities" the press will be provided with facilities for the transmission of "pool material." When such facilities are unavailable, "journalists will, as always, file by any other means available," although "electromagnetic operational security . . . may require limited restrictions."

-157-

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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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