Media vs. Military: The Effects of the Embed Program on Public Interests

Media vs. Military: The Effects of the Embed Program on Public Interests

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There are two major perspectives on what role the media occupies in the current political landscape: Pluralist and Marxist. Those who support the pluralist perspective see the media as performing two essential tasks, “(1) it informs the public and (2) it acts as a watchdog on those in power” (Edkins, and Zehfuss 157). The second perspective on the media, the Marxist perspective, takes the following view, “For Marxists, the ruling class uses the media as a tool of persuasion: they try and convince everyone that the hierarchical structure of society is serving everyone’s interests, not just their own” (Edkins, and Zehfuss 158). The unifying trait of these perspectives is the belief that media is influential in the formation of public opinion. Media is very important in forming public opinion, especially during war, however the media’s ability to report during wartimes has been different for each conflict. The government censors the media’s reports during wartime for several reasons. The primary reason is the need to keep information about troop movements and other security items secret. While the protection of military secrets is important, the freedom of press is an important tenet of democracy. During war there is an intricate balance between the freedom of press and censorship. Since the Vietnam War, the balance has gone back and forth. Only recently has a compromise between the media and the military been found with the practice of embedding journalists with troops. However, the process of embedding journalists with troops has impaired the media’s ability to act as a pluralist watchdog for public interests.
The Vietnam War was the first war to take place after a series of massive technological advancements which ...

... middle of paper ...

...s likely that the embed program will be seen again in future conflicts. While the embed program seems to be a healthy compromise between the military and the media, in reality, it victimizes public interests because it prevents the media from informing the public in a fair and unbiased manner, and prevents the media from protecting public interests.

Works Cited

Edkins, Jenny, and Maja Zehfuss. Global Politics: a New Introduction. 1st ed. New York, NY: Routledge,
2009. Print.

Kennedy , William V. . The Military and the Media. Wesrport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1993. Print.

Hess, Stephen, and Marvin Kalb. The Media and the War on Terrorism. 1st ed. Washington D.C.: the
Brookings Institution, 2003. Print.

Sylvester, Judith, and Suzanne Huffman. Reporting from the Front. Lanham, MD: Rowan & Littlefield
Publishing Group Inc., 2005. Print.

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