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American Wartime Media

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Thesis: The American government effectively uses the media to promote a war time effort.

Throughout American history the media has played a key part in the perseverance through great struggles. The endorsement of the people that make up a nation helps to ensure the smooth flow of operations. America is no different from any other nation when it comes to this. A failure to keep popular opinion inline with the ways of the government stalls any wartime effort. Media is used to paint a picture that will bring the populace to the will of its government.

During a war propaganda is used to paint the picture the American government wants. Walter Lippmann said it best; “a failure to keep popular opinion inline with the ways of the government stalls any wartime effort. Media is used to paint a picture that will bring the populace to the will of its government. (Shah)” When America is at war the military does its best to control the media about the battlefront. Reporters have to have to get clearance to get access into certain zones. The Armed Forces also have their own media networks; newspapers, radio, magazines, and TV stations to help its views on the war. Men and women of the Armed Forces are given orders to not talk to the media about topics not okayed by their higher ranking officers. They are to get permission from their superiors before engaging any media officials. Also, troops are not allowed to discredit their government, branch, or, unit be saying anything that would but anything of them in a negative light.

Music is a key resource used to promote the current war effort. Songs like Toby Keith’s American Solder give listeners an attachment to the military. The lyrics are not only, patriotic but also express the hardship and sacrifices US troops must face to service in the military. Another popular song that is used to related troops to the average person is Tim McGraw’s song If Your Reading This. The song is about a dead soldier’s letter to his wife saying he is sorry he did not come home but is glad to have give up his life so that everyone can be free. These songs give citizens a sense of guilt, from knowing other people sacrifice so that they can enjoy their lives, into helping with the war effort. Country music artists are not the only ones to make songs honoring US troops. Rap artist Lil Wyte produced a song, US Soldier Boy, as a tribute to all the troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Another interesting thing is that the term “Soldier” is used in Rap to represent being a “Man.” This goes on to being a sense of pride for those that have severed and to encourage others to join the service to achieve this status. These are some of the most recent pro-military and pro-war songs that have been recently produced.

Movies have been used as well to promote a wartime effort. Movies like Black Hawk Down, a movie about an US Army Ranger Company that becomes cut off from support in Mogadishu, suck viewers into the stories of the US military. In the movie you watch as Rangers die because they are cut off and can not effectively treat their wounded. In the end a Delta Force soldier, the world’s most elite fighters, expresses that they fought for the soldier next to them. Viewers are sucked into a level of patriotism and given a taste of the brotherhood felt by the military. This is used to help recruit new troops or to help promote local support. It’s the feeling and connection that is give to the viewers from movies that keeps American citizens supporting wars.

During Vietnam the American popular opinion was against the war. News reporters painted the picture of American troops acting like heathens. Stories returned from the warfront of Marines, and Soldiers murdering innocent people and violating human rights. The war was protested aggressively by American citizens. Especially, by the youth, mainly college students, because of the draft. The American public wanted the war to end so, reluctantly the United States government pulled troops out of Vietnam. The Vietnam War was the only “loss” the United States has ever experienced. Showing the importance of having the public on the side of the government and military. “Propaganda becomes necessary to sustain morale in spite of the collapsing effect brought on by war. (Wartime Propaganda)” American soldiers returning home from war were treated with disrespect from their fellow Americans. This made transitioning back into society harder for them then it should have been.

Propaganda works for a large number of reasons. One of these reasons is that fears and claims that seem logical and factual are presented to citizens. The media also manages and controls what is observed. Another reason is that public relations and media are presented in a very professional manner. Fear-mongering is also used throughout the media., especially about the threat to important values such as freedom, liberty, and justice. News talk shows “spin” current events to scare American citizens that their way of live is in jeopardy. Most importantly, is the fact that many American’s wish to believe the best about themselves and their country. Many Americans view the government as looking out for them and being righteous. Its hard for the average American to accept that sometimes the government does things they would not agree with.

Media broadcasts work for a number



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