The Pen and the Sword: Press, War, and Terror in the 21st Century

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SAGE, 2010 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 233 pages
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An eye-opening case study of the news at war, introducing a critical perspective on our mass media

The Pen and the Sword is the only comprehensive examination of how the media have covered the 21st Century’s #1 news story: terrorism and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is the full story—from 9/11 to the Obama doctrine, and including:

  • The war in Afghanistan. There were two sides to this story, but the press told only one, and the untold story would return to haunt us.
  • The campaign for war in Iraq. What did the press know and when did they know it about the web of lies that led us into war?
  • Iraq, from invasion to “Mission Accomplished.” When the story of war is told as patriotic hymn, Playstation game, or melodrama of macho heroes and bad guys dressed in black, important things are left out.
  • Aftermath, from “Mission Accomplished” to the present. Something has changed since the Vietnam War, when the press finally found its critical voice. However, the 21st Century media continue to cling to an untenable, pro-war story, even after the public has abandoned it.

The Pen and the Sword uses this tragic and eye-opening case study of the news at war to ask, “Why?” and to offer a critical perspective on our mass media, including the latest information on the underpinnings of the news business—corporate ownership, the power of elites to define the news—and adds three important new features of the media landscape:

  • The media profit crisis of the late ‘00s and how it is affecting the news.
  • The creation and mainstreaming of a new right-wing media surround-sound system.
  • The increasing importance of entertainment media and soft news in shaping our views.
 

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Contents

1 Media Democracy Hegemony
1
2 Night Falls 911 and the Afghan War
37
3 Iraq War Comes to the City of Peace
71
4 And the Lord Did Shock and Awe Them That Blasphemed Him
99
5 Aftermath What Rough Beast Its Hour Come Round at Last
127
6 Why?
157
References
205
Index
217
About the Author
233
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Calvin F. Exoo is Professor and Chair of Government at St. Lawrence University. He is also the author of Democracy Upside Down: Public Opinion and Cultural Hegemony in the United States and of The Politics of the Mass Media. His numerous articles on the politics of the mass media have appeared in such publications as Polity, New Political Science, The Journal of Ethnic Studies, The New York Times, The Times (London), The Baltimore Evening Sun, and the Los Angeles Times. In 2006, Exoo was selected as a Saul Sidore Lecturer at Plymouth State University, and in 2009, he was named Outstanding Faculty Member by the senior class at St.Lawrence University.

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