Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Second Front

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Second Front

An important point made by Macarthur in chapter 1 of “Second Front” is that

“From the moment Bush committed troops to Saudi Arabia on August 7, the Administration never intended to allow the press to cover a war in the Persian Gulf in any real sense, and intended to tightly manage what coverage it would permit”.

While a Vietnam ‘hangover’ is often cited as the prime reason for such tight control of press coverage during the first Gulf War, Ben Bagdikian cites additional reasons in his preface. He contends that,

When, in 1991, the United States went to war in the Persian Gulf, the news media paid the price for its weak response to Grenada and Panama, and repeated its inability to prevent unprecedented censorship “

The virtual media blackout imposed on the Press during the Central American wars of the 1980’s was viewed as a success and used as a blueprint by the Bush administration during the first Gulf War. The fact that news organizations did not protest loudly against this media blackout was viewed by the government as capitulation, and proof that the media could be effectively managed.


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