Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Second Front Chapter 1 Cutting the Deal

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Second Front Chapter 1 Cutting the Deal

Vietnam taught America many great lessons, none more powerful than the power of the people and media. President Bush knew the importance of keeping a strong hold on the media while still protecting the first amendment. Operation Desert Shield as it became known as was an attempt to limit new coverage during the Gulf War. Under this stipulation reporters were to stay with military officials at all times. He justified the pool by claiming it protected journalist from military action.
A key public relations figure at this time was Pete Williams
The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.Williams ability to manipulate the media was a large part of the success in censoring the Gulf War. Williams made the media feel like he cared for them and was doing everything he could for their betterment. He held small grouped meetings with media elites and made them promises like getting them extra access to the gulf.
The United States took full advantage of the fact that since Saudi Arabia was a sovereign state they controlled the issuing of the press visas. The Saudis held the stance of one visa per news outlet. Seeing that the United States had strong ties to Saudi Arabia the two worked together perfectly to shut out the media.
"The Saudis were saying, One news organization, one visa, and saying that's the way the Pentagon wanted it. The Pentagon people were saying No, no we don't have any problem with it. It's the Saudis.(pg. 17)
Techniques were soon in place to limit the power of the press. As the pools were sent to the Gulf they were required to sign ground rules. In the rules it stated that each reporter had to be escorted at all times. In addition all press material sent back to the United States was reviewed for security. The government was censoring the media effectively with minimal press backlash. When the media finally realized it it was too late and corporations were stuck pointing fingers.


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