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page updated/reviewed 2 July 2010
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Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
--- Voltaire

Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. He who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes or decisions possible or impossible to execute.
--- President Abraham Lincoln

One cannot wage war under present conditions without the support of public opinion, which is tremendously molded by the press and other forms of propaganda.
--- General Douglas MacArthur

The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armoury of the modern commander.... In Asia we were so weak physically that we could not let the metaphysical weapon rust unused.
--- T.E. Lawrence

U.S. Government FundedBack to Top

  • Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)
    • Voice of America (VoA), programming in over 50 languages
        Adhering to the principles outlined in the [VOA] Charter, VOA reporters and broadcasters must strive for accuracy and objectivity in all their work. They do not speak for the U.S. government. They accept no treatment or assistance from U.S. government officials or agencies that is more favorable or less favorable than that granted to staff of private-sector news agencies.
    • Radio Sawa, Arabic broadcasts throughout Middle East
        Radio Sawa is a service of U.S. International Broadcasting, which is operated and funded by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an agency of the U.S. Government. The BBG serves as a firewall to protect the professional independence and integrity of the broadcasters.
    • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, including broadcasts in at least 27 languages throughout Central and Southwest Asia
        Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a private, international communications service to Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Middle East, funded by the United States Congress.
    • Radio Free Asia, broadcasting in Eastern Asia in at least nine languages
        None of our staff are government employees. And I am proud to say we live by rigid standards of journalistic objectivity. Our job: quite simply, to bring news and information about their own country to populations denied the benefits of freedom of information by their governments.
    • Radio / TV Marti, broadcasts to Cuba
        En el mantenimiento de los principios establecidos por la legislación que creó a La Voz de América, VOA , ambas estaciones transmiten noticias e informaciones verídicas y objetivas sobre temas de interés para el pueblo de Cuba.
    • Worldnet Television, broadcasting over the Internet - including African Journal, Latin American programming, Eastern Europe programming, and more -- merged with VoA in May 2004.

  • Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), State Department
DoD/Joint ResourcesBack to Top Army, Navy, and MarinesBack to Top Air Force ResourcesBack to Top 9-11 and After, Media CoverageBack to Top Media Relations, including Wartime CoverageBack to Top Embedded MediaBack to Top Media as Instrument of WarBack to Top
  • The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armoury of the modern commander
    --- T.E. Lawrence

  • YouTube War: Fighting in a World of Cameras in Every Cell Phone and Photoshop on Every Computer (local copy), by Dauber, Strategic Studies Institute, Nov 2009

  • Rumsfeld speech to Council on Foreign Relations (local copy), 17 Feb 06, DoD transcript
    • We meet today in the sixth year in which our nation has been engaged in what promises to be a long struggle against an enemy that in many ways is unlike any our country has ever faced. And in this war, some of the most critical battles may not be in the mountains of Afghanistan or the streets of Iraq, but in newsrooms -- in places like New York, London, Cairo, and elsewhere.
    • I mention this because I want to talk today about something that at first might seem obvious -- but it isn’t. Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today’s media age, but for the most part we -- our country -- has not -- whether our government, the media or our society generally.
    • Consider that the violent extremist have established “media relations committees” -- and have proven to be highly successful at manipulating opinion elites. They plan and design their headline-grabbing attacks using every means of communications to intimidate and break the collective will of free people.
    • They know that communications transcend borders -- and that a single news story, handled skillfully, can be as damaging to our cause and as helpful to theirs, as any other method of military attack. And they are doing it.
    • They are able to act quickly with relatively few people, and with modest resources compared to the vast -- and expensive -- bureaucracies of western governments.
    • Our federal government is only beginning to adapt our operations for the 21st Century. For the most part, the U.S. Government still functions as a “five and dime” store in an E-Bay world.
    • We must get a great deal better at:
      • Engaging experts from both within and outside of government to help to communicate;
      • Rapidly deploying the best military communications capabilities to new theaters of operation; and
      • Developing and executing multifaceted media campaigns -- print, radio, television and Internet.
    • Let there be no doubt -- the longer it takes to put a strategic communications framework into place, the more we can be certain that the vacuum will be filled by the enemy and by news informers, that most assuredly will not paint an accurate picture of what is actually taking place.

  • The Media as an Instrument of War, by Payne, in Parameters, Spring 2005

  • Ralph Peters, “Kill Faster,” New York Post, 20 May 2004
    • "The [US] Marines in Fallujah weren’t beaten by the terrorists and insurgents, who were being eliminated effectively and accurately. They were beaten by al-Jazeera.... The media [are] often referred to off-handedly as a strategic factor. But we still don’t fully appreciate [their] fatal power...."

  • The Future Military-Media Relationship: the Media As an Actor in War Execution, by Hill, ACSC, 1997

  • Mass Media: the Tenth Principle of War? (local copy), by Squire, Naval War College, 1995

  • Democracy and Protracted War: the Impact of Television, by Venanzi, in Air University Review, Jan-Feb 1983

Media & the Military in HistoryBack to Top Wartime Reporting, the CorrespondentsBack to Top Media in New and Emerging DemocraciesBack to Top Media and TerrorismBack to Top Media Guides & DoD AssistanceBack to Top Media Agenda SettingBack to Top
  • See CNN Effect section below

  • Agenda Setting Bibliography

  • Media Agenda Setting, Northern Illinois University

  • The Gulf War: A Study of the Media, Public Opinion, and Public Knowledge, U. of Mass. Center for the Study of Communication -- including study of the paradox that it seems the more information is available to the public, the less they seem to understand about what's really going on

  • Beyond Agenda Setting: The Media's Power to Prime, by Morgan, Middle Tennessee State University - first paragraph below
    • Though early studies in communications science concluded that the media had minimal effects on public thinking, agenda-setting theory was one of the first moves toward a more powerful effects model of communications. Agenda setting, a term coined by McCombs and Shaw in a 1972 study, shows a correspondence between the order of importance given in the media to issues and the order of significance attached to the same issues by the public and politicians (McQuail, 1994, p. 256). Through repeated news coverage, agenda setting suggests that the media have the capability to raise the importance of certain issues in the public's mind (Severin & Tankard, 1997, p. 249). This theory further supports a statement made by Cohen (1963) that the news media may not directly affect how the public thinks about political matters, but it does affect what subjects people think about. In short, it sets the agenda for what political matters people consider important (Severin & Tankard, 1997, p. 252).

  • Media and the Social Agenda, one segment of "Violence, Public Health, and the Media," by Gerteis, based on an Annenberg conference - one paragraph below
    • If the media shape the public agenda, what shapes the media's agenda? McCombs argues that only about one-third of the stories in the mass media "thrust" themselves onto the agenda because of their objective importance to the public. Natural disasters or other public catastrophes, for example, fall into this category. The rest are there because they fit the conventions of journalism: they fill the need for drama, controversy, or human interest; they come from established and "reliable" sources; or they have been deemed worthy of coverage by The New York Times or The Washington Post. Equally important, the conventions of journalism--the choice of experts, the search for drama, "balance," or controversy--shape the way an issue is framed in the public mind. The mass media tell us not only what to think about, McCombs observes, but also how to think about it.

  • Agenda Setting, includes discussion of which media (print or tv) has more impact on which segment of the public
Media Affecting Decision Making and PolicyBack to Top Media and CNN EffectBack to Top Media Ethics & LawBack to Top Media WatchBack to Top Crisis & Risk CommunicationBack to Top Media - MiscellaneousBack to Top

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