Contemporary Methodology of Media Control During Wartime

Essay by bklyneliteUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, April 2008

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If the media is meant to be a regulator of the government then wartime is the perfect time for regulation. When a government feels it must enter conflict in its better interest it requires convincing its citizens that this is the right course of action. The people become powerful at this juncture, faced with a choice on whether or not their leaders are acting justly. A government's only way to convince its citizens of the validity of the proposed military action is through the media. Every step of the way the government must keep the minds of the people on board. From months before the war, to the beginning of the war, every battle, the end of the war, and even the post war process, each part is dependent on the rest to ensure legitimacy. Propaganda is often the method with which governments attempt to sway the beliefs of their people in a specific direction.

Propaganda is defined as "ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause"(Merriam-Webster). Propaganda is therefore a concerted effort at forging a specific viewpoint and is not objective or impartial. Propaganda is most often intended to give an emotional response rather than a logical one.

History books are written from the viewpoint of the culture they came from. The wars we look back on are skewed by our own viewpoints. Both conflicting cultures will have entirely different accounts of the war. Walter Lippman, renowned American war journalist, said "We must remember that in time of war what is said on the enemy's side of the front is always propaganda, and what is said on our side of the front is truth and righteousness, the cause of humanity and a crusade for peace." (Steel, 576) Frequently it is both...