Fencing In the Messengers

The U.S. press and the Pentagon square off over unprecedented limits on news coverage of a potential gulf battlefield

Ever since the Vietnam War, many military officers have contended that U.S. troops in combat face two foes: one on the battlefield, the other in the news media. In this view, reporters are more interested in probing for contradictions between official statements and the testimony of footsore grunts than in emphasizing any underlying unity of purpose. They seek out graphic images of suffering, invading the privacy of victims and allowing emotion to obscure larger concerns of national policy. Above all, they may be so skeptical about war in general, or a current war in particular, that they do not root for...

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