Distorting Defense: Network News and National Security

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 1998 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 262 pages
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Using journalists' own standards as the measure, an exhaustive analysis of nearly 3000 network news reports from the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations reveals that the networks may do more to misinform than inform on a whole range of complex issues related to national defense. This study paints a disturbing picture of the inadequate coverage ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News provide to millions of viewers each night. Aubin concludes that network coverage of defense issues was too often tainted by preconceived attitudes and lapses in journalistic standards.

While as much as twenty-five cents of every dollar went to the defense budget during some of the periods reviewed, the networks hardly covered the key issues surrounding the Reagan defense buildup or the dramatic cuts that followed the end of the Cold War. In addition to their inadequate coverage, the networks also deprived Americans of balanced coverage of the investments made in high-tech weapons that ultimately prevailed in the Gulf War. Though the networks receive good marks for foreign policy coverage, they need to improve the quality of defense reports. This book provides them with the lessons and prescriptions for doing so, and it serves as a primer for all Americans who want to know just what it was that the networks failed to tell them.


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The New YorkWashington Axis
3 Dissecting Network Coverage of National Security
4 Cut That Defense Budget
5 Weapons That Do Not Work?
A Scandalous Business?
Lets Make a Deal
8 The Foreign Policy Scorecard
9 Why Network Coverage Fell Short
12 A Few Notes on Network Coverage of the Gulf War
13 Policymakers Still Read All About It
Expertise and Standards Matter
Notes on Methodology
The Pentagons NewsGathering Operation

A Case Study in Distortion
11 The Romanian Revolution Beyond the Images

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Page 3 - What if free people could live secure in the knowledge that their security did not rest upon the threat of instant US retaliation to deter a Soviet attack, that we could intercept and destroy strategic ballistic missiles before they reached our own soil or that of our allies?

About the author (1998)

Stephen P. Aubin has specialized in national security affairs for nearly two decades, and is currently director of communications for the Air Force Association. He has written widely on defense policy and media issues and has held editorial positions at a number of publications, including Military Intelligence Magazine, Defense Media Review, Air Power History, and Strategic Review. He holds a PhD in National Security Studies and Communications from the University Professors Program at Boston University.

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