< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://davejustus.com/" >

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Media and War

War Policy, Public Support, and the Media by William M. Darley is another of the papers that Vodkapundit recommended from Parameters. It makes a convincing case that media portrayal of warfare has much less effect than conventional wisdom would suggest and the firm leadership and decisive action are far more influential on public opinion. According to this paper, the media effect is more likely to have an effect on the leadership, causing them to express doubt and act in a wishy washy manner than it is to directly effect public opinion. This is quite plausible. You could probably boil the conclusion of the paper down to 'nothing succeeds like success.' Based upon this paper at least, George Bush's firm leadership and never expressing any doubt is the correct way to maintain public support for the war. He could probably do better at expressing clear objectives however. This is where a 'timetable' could be useful with specific goals to be accomplished at specific times. This worked very well for the Iraqi election in January of course. On the second factor, tangible decisive action the Iraq war is obviously going less well. However, it should be noted that it is quite possible to marry the relatively high levels of support for us staying in Iraq with the moderate support of the Presidents actions as a call by many for more activity and a harder push rather than withdrawal. Once again, specific goals and timetables would be quite useful. I have assumed, as have many, that slant in press coverage could dramatically effect the course of a war. Certainly this paper has convince me that in conventional arenas, body counts, basic justification for the war, etc. The effect of the press is probably minor. However, I am not sure that that conclusion applies as strongly to press coverage that deals with the moral nature of America, and the American Soldiers themselves. Rightly or wrongly it seems that the Abu Ghraib incidents, and other similar events seem to have eroded confidence in our moral nature itself, and thus confidence in the war. The paper discusses the effects of coverage of things like the Tet offensive in Vietnam, but not things like the My Lia massacre. The last paper that Vodkapundit recommended: Preemption and the Evolution of America'’s Strategic Defense is a very deep andthoughtfull analysis of the entire concept of preventive war. I have read it, and been thinking on it greatly. It seems to require an in depth analysis, and perhaps reworking of the entire just war concept to deal with adequately. I have a post on that rumbling around the back of my head, but I am not sure I am up to the task.


Post a Comment

<< Home