Cover image for Debating war and peace : media coverage of U.S. intervention in the post-Vietnam era
Title:
Debating war and peace : media coverage of U.S. intervention in the post-Vietnam era
Author:
Mermin, Jonathan, 1966-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
xii, 162 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Reading Level:
1650 Lexile.
ISBN:
9780691005331

9780691005348
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library P96.W352 U556 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary


The First Amendment ideal of an independent press allows American journalists to present critical perspectives on government policies and actions; but are the media independent of government in practice? Here Jonathan Mermin demonstrates that when it comes to military intervention, journalists over the past two decades have let the government itself set the terms and boundaries of foreign policy debate in the news. Analyzing newspaper and television reporting of U.S. intervention in Grenada and Panama, the bombing of Libya, the Gulf War, and U.S. actions in Somalia and Haiti, he shows that if there is no debate over U.S. policy in Washington, there is no debate in the news. Journalists often criticize the execution of U.S. policy, but fail to offer critical analysis of the policy itself if actors inside the government have not challenged it. Mermin ultimately offers concrete evidence of outside-Washington perspectives that could have been reported in specific cases, and explains how the press could increase its independence of Washington in reporting foreign policy news.


The author constructs a new framework for thinking about press-government relations, based on the observation that bipartisan support for U.S. intervention is often best interpreted as a political phenomenon, not as evidence of the wisdom of U.S. policy. Journalists should remember that domestic political factors often influence foreign policy debate. The media, Mermin argues, should not see a Washington consensus as justification for downplaying critical perspectives.



Author Notes

Jonathan Mermin earned a Ph.D. and has been a lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Yale University, where he has led a major course on the news media and American politics. He has contributed to Political Science Quarterly and Political Communication.


Table of Contents

List of Tablesp. ix
Prefacep. xi
1 Introductionp. 3
2 The Spectrum of Debate in the Newsp. 17
3 Grenada and Panamap. 36
4 The Buildup to the GulfWarp. 66
5 The Rule and Some Exceptionsp. 100
6 Television News and the Foreign-Policy Agendap. 120
7 Conclusionp. 143
Appendixp. 154
Indexp. 157

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