Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: SECOND FRONT:DESIGNING WAR

Monday, April 07, 2008


"Anti-war media critics have complained about network television's proclivity to "sanitize" the face of battle with video graphics. But this missed the point of good television design, which is meant to attract viewers as well as hide ugliness. Well done graphics, in theory, are supposed to help ratings."- JOHN R. MACARTHUR

The designing war chapter of the book Second Front, by John R. Macarthur is all about the how the news media aided the Pentagon in its goal of hiding the fact that people were being killed, by using only graphic images and not images of fighting and death to help explain what was going on in the gulf. The government had learned from the mistakes of the media coverage of the Vietnam war in which the news media had an open flow of violent war images to show to viewers, hence ending public support for the Vietnam war. because of the lack of prevalent images given to reporters and newscasters during the gulf war conflict they had to be innovative and use computer graphics and slick images to help the people at home understand the war. This did however allow for a , as described by Macarthur, "the coming of age for broadcast graphics". I believe that under great pressure comes my best work. This was the case for the graphic designers who worked for the news media during the gulf war. they were under pressure by their bosses to help explain a war with so few images provided. In such a situation they could not help , but rise to the occasion and put out some of their best work. They cannot be faulted because the Pentagon kept a tight lid on what was going on in the Gulf. They had a job to do, which was to deliver news about the war, without necessarily having access to all that much visual information. I think that in the end all parties got what they wanted. The pentagon kept support for the war because of the lack of images available concerning what was actually happening in the war. The designers and other news personnel got what they wanted, which were ratings. And the American people got a nice, clean, guilt free war.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A very good post. Understanding that the coverage of war results from the combined efforts of many media professionals doing their jobs as they have always done, day in and day out, is key to understanding how the chaos of war is packaged for consumption.

4/13/2008 11:07 PM  

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