Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: The ABC After-School War Special

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The ABC After-School War Special


Journalists and networks were able to cash in on ratings by promoting coverage that was appealing to viewers. ABC appealed their coverage to younger viewers. Peter Jennings hosted a children's war special. He addressed the needs of his youngest viewers by informing them about the soldiers safety, and how the Americans were the best prepared for war. Saddam's chemical weapons were the only indication of death in the broadcast, and a reassuring notion that these weapons had never been used. A person in a chemical protection suit made an appearance to stage to help assure the children the Americans were well protected from dying from a chemical weapons threat. Jennings ended the special with the optimist attitude that most people who go to war, come home safe at the end of the war. The book did not mention if ABC discussed how the children in Iraq lived through the Gulf War. The focus of the special was to reassure the American children that they were safe and so were the Americans fighting in the Gulf.

"Most people who go to war come home from war. He neglected to mention that
certain Iraqi children who never went to war would never leave their homes
again."
The children's special appealed to the children's emotions of fear and safety, and reassured the young viewers that the Americans would be safe from harm during the war.

1 Comments:

Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post and an interesting discussion.

I am not sure how you can call this "cashing in" The networks could have aired far more profitable programming than a children's special on the war. ABC can be faulted for not discussing the fate of Iraqi children and perhaps for sanitizing the war for youthful viewers, but the impulse to reassure young people in a time of war anxiety should not be a problem, despite whatever inaccuracies it may have contained.

4/12/2007 11:10 AM  

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