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How Media Coverage of War Affects Presidents and Their Policy Making - Research Paper Example

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Introduction: The media plays a pivotal role in shaping opinions and perceptions that have a lasting impact on the lives of those influenced. The scale of impact, today, is much higher than ever before with the rise of the mass media and the advent of the new media…
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How Media Coverage of War Affects Presidents and Their Policy Making
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Download file to see previous pages The media has played an enormous role in the war on terror. The intricate and detailed coverage of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center were seen by the entire world and led to an extremely emotional response from the American people. The images were associated with terrorism and the knee jerk response of most Americans called for bombing anyone who was responsible for such a hideous act, thus forming the base for any violent response from the US government. This paper shall underline the importance of the media in the coverage and conduct of Warfare, how terrorist groups use the media to spread their message, how the media uses terrorists to further their objectives and the impact of these events on government policy matters. The importance of Media in the Coverage and Conduct of the War: The media has become an important factor in the war on terrorism. The war not only takes place in Afghanistan, but has repercussions for the millions of viewers witnessing the events first hand(Shpiro 2002). The 9/11 attacks have dramatically changed the perceptions of millions around the world on terrorism and perceived threats. Modern wars take place as much on TV screens as on the battlefield. Media coverage not only influences public opinion, it also has a lasting impact on national government policy decisions(Shpiro 2002). The technological enhancement that has taken place in the latter half of the 20th century and the 21st century has enabled the media to broadcast, report and inform the masses of what is happening on ground immediately after the occurrence of the event. While the events of the world wars could be censored, abandoned or edited significantly before they reached audiences, such actions are not possible with the advent of modern technology and the race for ratings between media outlets that demands immediate coverage. An important impact of the increase in the influence of media is that military operations have significant elements of media policy. The speed of the coverage of events means that policy decisions regarding the media need to be made ahead of the event. These policies are the ways in which the military and political leadership handle media aspects of conflicts. The range of these policies encompasses decisions on matters such as censorship, legal restrictions, abandonment of coverage, etc. This policy sets to further the political aims of warfare. Warfare media policies have been a subject of considerable research throughout the 20th century. These policies developed in several phases throughout the last three decades of the 20th century. Before the tremendous technological enhancements, governments sought to censor the flow of any form of information from the battlefields. Both of the world wars saw censorship and controlled coverage rule the flow of information. The purpose of this strategy was to identify the specific news that could be covered and avoid embarrassments. The media was also used for propaganda to justify government actions. The impact of the Vietnam War: The Vietnam War was the first major conflict that brought the bloodshed on the TV screens of the common man. The coverage of the war was very close to real time and Americans felt the pain that the people of Vietnam went through throughout the conflict. The policy set at the outset of the conflict sought to give journalists free access to the entire conflict. The policy was set without due consideration to the political repercussions of comprehensive ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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