MLA Essay Sample: War As Seen Through The Media

Updated: Sep 28, 2016

Media plays a great role during the Wartime, not just by broadcasting the war events but also by letting the people know the reality and the truth behind the war. They are the ones who change people’s perspective and opinion. Learn more about the intricacies of media working with the hardest material ever - war, here.

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Truth Behind the War

            Media plays a great role in influencing today’s youth and changing the opinions of many.

Media’s coverage is so much influential that it can have an effect on anyone’s opinion and views.

Media at times could be good, while at times it could be really bad. For example, in focusing

on the issues of discrimination, it plays a very important role in letting people know the adverse

effects of discrimination, while on the other hand media, itself is being responsible for the

growing issues of discrimination.

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            Media plays a great role during the Wartime, not just by broadcasting the war events but also

by letting the people know the reality and the truth behind the war. They are the ones who change

people’s perspective and opinion. The techniques in addition to goals of the media have changed

radically. The media now is what bring the news of all the terror war into everyone’s home.

            When the World war broke out in August 1914, the United States at once fixed its relation to

the belligerents thru a proclamation of neutrality. The days of the war, before their entry on the side of

the allied powers in April 1917, were marked with difficulties, both in preventing violations of out

neutrality and in securing proper respect for our neutral rights. The rights and duties of neutrals were


            At the outbreak of the war, Great Britain notified the United States that she would be held

responsible for injuries resulting to British interests from vessels converted to warships or armed in

American ports, even though the completion of the act of conversion took place on the high seas.

British merchant vessels, it was asserted, were armed for self-defense only. The position of the United

States was that a merchant vessel belonging to a belligerent should not arm itself so as to avoid

capture by lawful and legitimate processes.

            On April 8, 1917, the Austrian government, as Germany's ally, broke off diplomatic relations

with the United States, and in due course, the war was declared against Austria. Until all effective

states agree upon the abandonment of neutrality, those remaining outside the agreement will insist on

their right to judge for themselves as to the neutral or belligerent character of their policy, in the case

of a conflict between two or more other states. This lies in the field of policy. And as long as the policy

of neutrality may be elected, it follows that the status of neutrality will exist, together with its rights

and duties. The belligerent states will be sufficiently active in demanding that a country is impartially

neutral. The neutral state must itself insist upon an observance of its rights formally declared by the

joint resolution of Congress (Cipriano, 1995).

            All this during the First World War was well focused on, and a clear perspective was shown

through Media. There was not any biasness and the news was broadcasted to merely let the people

know what is going on in their surrounding, and not to exaggerate a particular news. Media of that

time would only broadcast what was actually happening and so it would leave the decision to viewers

hands as to what conclusion they make out from the broadcast and it had let them had their own

perspective to everything they watched rather than to force Media’s own perspective on its viewer.

Change of the War Picture

            Previously media would emphasize a focus on the positives of wars. They paid attention to

what people required and needed to hear. There was no struggle, and money wasn’t as key an issue

in becoming a journalist. The commercialism of news was far less of an issue in the reporting of

news. The news wasn’t so much unconstructive as it was upbeat and vigorous. It was the media’s job

to keep their listeners hopeful and panic free. It wasn’t concerning who could get a hold of the most

listeners by offering the most sensational newscasts. It was about letting everyone know the truth and

reality (Jowett, & O'Donnell, 1992).

            But now in the present time, media offers overly negative pictures of war and its objectives

and accomplishments. A new legacy would be built: the rising of deviousness, one that imitated and

showed the broader dissatisfactions with the government. Journalism was now regarding the money

and the achievement that would be wrapped around it. The competition rose as the requirement for

unconstructiveness in the life unraveled. Good, decent, honest and optimistic news would no longer

be found.

 Media vs. Military Business

            We shall now have a look at how the media interferes in the military business, so to have a

clear vision of how things actually are.

            Every time a society has permitted its military establishment to insulate itself against effective

public scrutiny that military establishment has ended up destroying the people it was supposed to

protect. The independence guaranteed to the press under the First Amendment to that Constitution is

one of the most important of the safeguards. Yet every bureaucrat knows that power flows from each

increment of information he or she can garner and hold tight. To the extent that our society permits

such bureaucratic self-interest to restrict access by the public to the business of government – in

particular, its military business – the First Amendment becomes meaningless.

            Very few citizens have the time and means to search out government information vital to their

well-being. As a result, access means mainly access by the press, like it or not. In a speech to the

National Newspaper Association following the end of the war, General Colin L. Powell, chairman of

the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged that if the Iraqi army had moved, in August 1990, as it

was entirely capable of doing, to occupy the principal Saudi Arabian airfields and ports, the United

States would have been in enormous difficulty. What General Powell did not tell his audience, but

what Major General Edward B. Atkeson, formerly of the Central Intelligence Agency, had made plain

more than three years earlier in an article in Armed Forces Journal International was that for a period

of several weeks, until major U.S. land and air forces could be inserted, a determined, large-scale

Iraqi invasion could be stopped only by nuclear weapons.

            But American journalism has neither the technical competence to recognize the long-term

implications of an article such as General Atkeson's nor the structural means to relate it to a crisis that

occurs years, or even months, later. So the public – American or otherwise – was never informed that

in declaring his intention to defeat Iraqi aggression the president of the United States was, in fact,

committing the United States to nuclear war during the period when the first token U.S. land forces

flown to the region were in danger of being overrun.

Passion for Seeking Out the Truth

            As with every major military story since the end of World War, the press failed. It did not fail

because of government censorship. Rather, it failed because of the inadequacies of its own training

and organization, deficiencies that prevented it from reporting matters of crucial importance, even

when all of the essential facts were in the public domain.

            The media, much similar to the American people, began losing optimism in the government,

so broadcasters subsequently would create such newscasts that would also fill the American people

with a strong sense of doubt. A major loss to the reliability of the public was the leaking of information

to the public from the Pentagon Papers. These documents were discovered by journalists to contain

far higher rates of American fatalities and far less victorious battles than the publicly released

government statistics had specified. No longer would the press recognize the government press

releases; now they began more analytical journalism to check the truth of the official reports.

            We need to realize that media is there to raise the voice for truth, not to support the

exaggeration of the simple, uncomplicated anecdote. What the media at this stage need to do is to

make an attempt and realize that to ‘cover a war and for a nation determined to comprehend it, there

is merely one course. They must share a passion for seeking out the truth’ (DeParle, 1991).


            Where do the media fit in this procedure? An average American high school graduate spends

more time in front of the TV than in the classroom. The mass media is an influential socializing agent.

Media is not restricted to the contented of media messages. Media have an effect on how we learn

regarding our world and interrelate with one another. Media actually reconcile our relationship with

social institutions. We base a large amount of our knowledge on government news accounts, not

knowledge. We are reliant on the media for what we distinguish and how we narrate to the world of

politics due to the media-politics connection. We read or watch political discussions followed by

immediate analysis as well as commentary by "experts." Politicians rely on media to converse their

message. Related dynamics are present in other mediated events such as televised sports and

televangelism. Media is part of our usual relations with family and friends. They describe

our communication with other people on a daily foundation as a diversion, sources of disagreement,

or a uniting force. Media have an impact on society not merely through the contented of the message

but also through the procedure.

 Works Cited

DeParle, Jason. "Covering the War”. New York Times, 5 May 1991.

Venzon, Anne Cipriano. The United States in the First World War. Garland Publishing, 1995.

Jowett, G. S., and O'Donnell, Victoria. Propaganda and Persuasion. 2nd ed., Sage Press, 1992.

Edward B. Atkeson. “The Persian Gulf. Still a Vital U.S. Interest?” Armed Forces Journal International, April 1987): 46-56

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