War / Peace

Not Counting the Dead

In Afghanistan, where death is ubiquitous, killing a habit, and war has been a constant for an entire generation, few people are bothering to count the casualties mounting from more than four months of US action. "There are no official US figures, and nor have the dozens of non-governmental charities now operating in the country done any independent research," notes the Guardian.


American Advertising Goes to War

Advertising Age magazine has created a special section of its website devoted to stories about "Selling Brand USA to a Hostile World." Story titles include: White House Buys Anti-terror Super Bowl Spots, Should American Values Be Marketed to Muslim Nations?, Sony Products Take Center Stage in Coalition War Ad, and


Covering the War

The news media reacted initially to the terrorist attacks of September 11 with great care about not getting ahead of the facts, but over time the press is inching back toward pre-September 11th norms of behavior, according to a new study of press coverage of the war on terrorism. In the beginning, solid sourcing and factualness dominated the coverage of bombings and their aftermath, according to the study, conducted by the Project for Excellence in Journalism with Princeton Survey Research Associates.


Access Denied

The Pentagon's war reporting rules are the toughest ever for journalists, reports Neil Hickey, citing interviews with more than a score of foreign editors, Pentagon correspondents and other journalists. "Bush administration policy has kept reporters from combat units in a fashion unimagined in Vietnam, and one that's more restrictive even than the burdensome constraints on media in the Persian Gulf," he writes.


Pentagon Helps Out With "Black Hawk Down"

"The Department of Defense (DoD) public affairs office has thrown its support behind the making and release of Black Hawk Down, a film about the 1993 raid in Somalia that left 18 US soldiers dead," writes PR trade publication PR Week. The DoD provided boot-camp training to actors, technical advisors, eight helicopters, and more than 100 soldiers. According to PR Week, the DoD package cost $2.2 million. Pentagon public affairs officers also have discussed the movie with the media and arranged for screenings on military bases. "As a governement agency, we don't endorse products or services.


Afghan Warlord General Dostum Hires Washington Representation

"Afghanistan's Northern Alliance Junbish Party is using Philip S. Smith & Associates, Washington, D.C., to make sure it plays a leading role in the post-Taliban government," O'Dwyer's PR Daily writes. "Smith is a former Asia policy advisor for the House Republican Research Committee and senior legislative assistant to Rep. Don Ritter (R-Pa). He reports to Gen. Rashid Dostum, a former Communist who switched sides and fought the Soviet Union after it invaded Afghanistan. Dostum is the former warlord who controlled the key Afghanistan city of Mazar-e-Sharif.


Media and War, Appearance and Reality

The U.S. Department of Defense recently issued a report stating that the "war on terrorism" could last as long as six years on a global scale. "In a paradox worthy of careful study, however, the mass media have been far more exuberant about progress in the war," notes Strategic Forecasting, a private intelligence company that provides businesses with strategic analyses of international events. "The media have to a great extent disregarded the constant drumbeat of caution sounded by everyone from U.S. President George W. Bush to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to Adm. John Stufflebeem.


May We Have Independent Journalism Back Now, Please?

"America is four months into this crisis, and one comment about the course of events is now long overdue: the U.S. media have woefully mishandled their coverage of post-Sept. 11 developments," writes Andrew Stroehlein, who moderates a Poynter Institute online forum for journalists devoted to discussing media coverage of the war. "American journalists now consider themselves Americans first and journalists second, and the U.S.


The Wrong Stuff

"The images that streamed from inside Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul were a propaganda dream for the United States government," notes the Independent. "Afghan women, after years of cruel subjugation by the Taliban, were daring to shed their veils and to expose their faces once again to the world and to sunlight." Meanwhile, in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the first woman ever to become a U.S.



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