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War Terrorism

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War, Terrorism, and National Emergencies

News and information media should be constrained, under some circumstances, during war and national emergencies.

During a time of fear and doubt, the last thing an American citizen needs to hear is misleading information. It is important that the media establish a bonding relationship, to a certain degree, with authorities in order to provide accurate information when covering national emergencies, war, and terrorism. Restraining information is important when providing the "truth" to the people. The media's main concerns should be to ease the public by disclosing information that is necessary to prevent further disasters and control panic. This paper will focus on major reasons it is to the public's benefit to constrain certain news and information.

One reason involves the duty to protect the leak of unnecessary, irrelevant, and misleading information. Take for example, the video and graphic pictures shown to the public of American civilian, Nick Burg, being decapitated by terrorists. That type of unnecessary information did more harm than good, creating people to become angry, fearful, sad, and miserable. The morale of American citizens plummeted, creating negative effects. Another example includes the irrelevant information restricted to the public about the late president John F. Kennedy's personal affairs. This information kept Americans from forming prejudiced opinions about J.F.K and created the people to focus more on how he successfully succeeded his duty as president of the United States of America. In the case of misleading information take for example all the videos created after the September 11th tragedy. People started forming their own opinions about what actually happened and created bias viewpoints blaming the government for the fall of the twin towers. While the videos contained evidence to back up their theories, it did not prove anything. It was all a matter of how you viewed and interpreted the information. More information does not necessarily mean more accurate information. Journalists should be limited to report on the facts and details that are allowed by higher authorities in order to create honest and truthful reports.

The second reason involves the restriction of governmental war strategies and plans of attack so that the information is not revealed to terrorists and other opposing organizations. Such things as the lives of the troops and surprise attacks should be kept confidential in order to protect the citizens of America. No war is a good war so therefore it is important that the media respect the authorities' decisions to withhold or give any specific information. The people of the United States of America are very vulnerable in the times of war, terrorism, and national emergencies. Appropriate measures should be made before the media or anyone decides to embrace the topics concerning war. In 1979, a United States attorney general, Frank Tuerkheimer, succeeded is getting a court order that stopped The Progressive magazine from publishing an article on how to build a hydrogen bomb. This article could have potentially exposed information to an individual capable of learning the operations of building this nuclear weapon and quite possibly then produce mass destruction.

The third reason involves the journalists that travel around the world covering stories about war and terrorism are likely to view only from a local viewpoint, whether that is in terms of location or nationality of the people they come into contact with, resulting in dangerous frustrations. It is very difficult for a journalist to remain neutral when out reporting from a war zone. Journalists tend to report on just the side in which they are involved with and cover the action that takes place from their own point of view. For example, Al-Jazeera, the media network for Arabs, mainly reports on information associated with their country. The same applies in this case of journalist reporting in the United States. Although the information may be enlightening, the people continue to be subjective.

The fourth and final reason involves keeping restricted

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