Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Persian Gulf War, the Movie!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Persian Gulf War, the Movie!


Persian Gulf War, the Movie

"The war in the Persian Gulf was an unprecedented motion picture spectacular. It crammed into its first month alone the entire imagery- and firepower- of four years of bombing in World War II. But unlike a carpet of explosives leveling cities and setting off firestorms, or of GIs "flushing out" Vietcong from their hiding places, we were shown "seeing-eye" bombs zooming in on their targets, followed by computer graphics tracing the ground offensive against an invisible enemy...Desert Storm was the first major global media crisis orchestration that made instant history." (Gerbner, Persian Gulf War, the Movie. 247).

The six week long Gulf War that took place between January 17, 1991 and February 28, 1991 was a "short and sweet" excursion of the American military, under the direction of then-President George Bush. The Gulf War lasted just the right length of time to satisfy America's fighting instincts, while still being able to keep the interest of Americans' short-attention span (afterall, the MTV generation had been born back in the 1980s).

As the author, George Gerbner, explains, "Instant history is image history." The coverage of the Gulf War was a "sanitized scenario" directed by the government and the military leaders like General Norman Schwarzkopf who forbade casualty estimates and, instead, released sortie counts (not body counts). The hands of the media were tied and they were only allowed to report, for the most part, on what they were fed by the military leaders in their daily briefings and press conferences. The "happy ending" of the Gulf War fit right into the plan of the "moviemakers." Yellow ribbons were the perfect "supportive sign" to hang on the old oak tree for a job well done. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! or was it???

1 Comments:

Blogger A. Mattson said...

A very good post. Good discussion.

The use of television imagery as a source of historical knowledge is of course dangerous. Can war be that easily packaged and sanitized?

4/11/2007 10:45 PM  

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