Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Ch.1 Hotel Warriors - Media Censorship

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ch.1 Hotel Warriors - Media Censorship

“It was a war that the great majority of journalists saw from the vantage point of the briefing rooms of posh hotels in Riyadh or Dhahran or from the gray metal chairs in the broadcasting studio on the E-Ring of the Pentagon” (Fialka 2)

The beginning of hotel warriors gives us a glimpse of media censorship during the Gulf War. Very often what the media relays to the public is a slanted, distorted or ambiguous version of the facts. During the war journalists were denied access to areas they would need to enter in order to create an accurate story. Fialka gives a reference to generals who blame the media for losing the Vietnam War. We are shown how unpleasant the relationship between the media and military can be.

“Scott Applewhite, an enterprising Associated Press photographer, who was the first journalist to arrive at the single most costly event of the war for U.S. forces-the crash of an Iraqi Scud missile into a barracks in Dhahran where 27 GI’s were for his pains, he was shoved around by guards, he had his film confiscated, and then he was escorted back to the Dhahran International Hotel by a public affairs officer” (Fialka 3)

Media Bias and Censorship is just as rampant in the current war in Iraq as it was in the Gulf War. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is the main apparatus used by watchdog groups and journalists to access federal documents. Due to the 2006 Defense Authorization Act the department of defense in the pentagon is exempt from FOIA requests. This leaves journalists helpless. The DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) is now able to flout access to files that expose corruption. Various organizations have relied on FOIA to uncover documents on the U.S. military’s involvement in the torture and mistreatment of foreign detainees in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and Iraq.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post. Fialka and Braestrup's book illustrates the difficulties that reporters faced in trying to cover the war.

FOIA requests take time. Too much time to be useful in the midst of war. What works for historians is less useful for journalists with a deadline.

4/14/2008 3:26 PM  

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