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History Of War Coverage Essay

2203 words - 9 pages

War Coverage
     Edward R. Murrow, former reporter for CBS once said, “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we…remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were, for the moment unpopular.” Times are changing when it comes to the media covering wars. There was once a time in our country when journalists were not afraid to report the realities and atrocities, to a reasonable extent, that occurred during wartime. During the Vietnam conflict America saw what actually was happening in the jungle on the other side of the world and it enabled citizens to form their own opinions about the war. Recent wars, such as the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom do not allow the citizens of the United States to see and experience what is really happening. We see a sanitized version of the war, we are shown only material that boosts moral and support for the troops and our government, but we do not see enough of the war to realize that everything does not go as smooth as it seems. War coverage has changed over the years in many aspects. Freedom of the journalists, the relationship between the press and the military and the technology are the significant aspects of change in war coverage.
     The Second World War was covered in a way that is very different than what we are used to today. The news was aired mainly by radio because television was still in its early days during the war. The journalists and the military were more allies than enemies, with each of them helping the other. When it came to the overall purpose of the war, the US correspondents (and their Allied counterparts) were no less committed to the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan than were the commanders who led their troops into battle. As a result, the notion that our armed forces needed somehow to "handle" the press was irrelevant. Press relations--or "media" relations, as the Pentagon would have phrased it--did not yet exist in the way we recognize them from our post-Vietnam experience (Rather). There was a sense of mutual respect between the two organizations in World War II, they both understood what they were out there to accomplish.
Although the relationship between the press and the military was very good there was fairly strict censorship on what they were allowed to report. The D-Day media plans called for each corps in the operation to be accompanied by seven war correspondents, three photographers, two public relations officers, four press censors, two radio operators and two driver-messengers (Hernandez). The public relations officers and the press censors would screen all the material prior to it being released to the public. Much of the news on the war gathered would be edited and cut down by the press censors but often times the news could be...

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