The study was undertaken in the 1990s, by a team of a journalist and a military officer, anchored primarily on the basis that the First Amendment’s guaranteed free and unfettered press is of absolute significance to American democracy, and that the military of America which is absolutely dedicated to civilian authority, is likewise of absolute importance to the preservation of freedom, security and the Constitution which includes the First Amendment.
History, however, is replete with accounts of conflicts between the two institutions, significantly highlighted with the 1983 invasions of Grenada and of Panama in 1989, as well as with the Desert Storm victory of 1991. The Grenada invasion had the media complaining of the military’s total shut out of news coverage; in Panama, that the military unnecessarily delayed a press pool it set up; and in Desert Storm, that the military stifled journalists in varied ways.
These and other irritants severely damaged the ties between the two institutions, which led the leaders of both sides to come together and do something to fix it out, also in respect of and in recognition of their need for each other. With the new relationship, stereotypes clouding each institution’s perspective of the other, were decreased significantly, based on a survey conducted among the media and the military.
The study focuses on the relationship between military and the media in conflict situations as well as in peacetime, in due recognition of the realities and factors interplaying in both sides. Only for nine months, the study is presented in three parts: Overview, which tackles the overall scenario of the media-military relationship; Fort the Future, which generally provides recommendations for both institutions; and the Other Views, wherein interview results are presented. II. Summary of Chapter 5: The First Two Centuries
America’s media and military have been at odds against each other since the early days, almost as old as America itself. The Revolutionary War saw the press freely expressing amidst the military’s censorship, harassment, and bullying. Media during said period towards 20th century served as sounding boards of opinions, very similar to the editorial pages of contemporary newspapers. Since everything was dependent on the location, media operating in a locality where majority support the revolution would be free to express their opinions supporting revolution.
During the Mexican War of 1846, the military released its first attempt to provide the people with firsthand information about the war, amidst the increasingly tighter competition among “dailies” to bring the latest news to the people. The Civil War gave birth to the Associated Press amidst military’s suppression of information to the people. Also significant during the Civil War was President Abraham Lincoln’s belief in the importance of the media in attaining peace.
Several other wars had the military and the media playing their respective roles in serving the American people. It had always been, however, full of disagreements, conflicts and misunderstandings. III. My Personal Account of the Media and Military during the war Modern day wars have been brought closer to home via live feeds from the war scenes themselves, owing to the availability of technological advancements like cable television, satellite feeds, phone patches, the internet, cellphone technology or the videophone.
What I have witnessed so far has been a close cooperation and coordination between and among the military and the media, considering that no matter how technologically advanced the media staff are, if they were not provided access to or helped into the sites of wars by the military operating in those areas, the media would not have been able to get the good and full coverages that they have been providing the audience.
I personally have taken for granted the fact that crisply fresh and straight-from-the-scene news feeds are on television almost regularly, not considering that behind the scenes of a few minutes’ live feed may have taken the news team a lifetime of pushing or nudging or diplomatic begging the military to allow them to shoot. On the other hand, same news feeds may have caused a military officer unspoken tensions and stress having to allow the news team to cover, knowing the risk of possibly compromised security and safety for these people.
I follow intently Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran wars, among others in contemporary times. It has been interesting to watch the turn of events unfolding before my very eyes, as if I were also there in the war scene. During family gatherings and we happen to see news about those wars on TV, we briefly discuss about the latest updates, but never deep discussions about them.