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15 Cards in this Set

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The Persian Gulf War was a victory on many fronts. A historic battle was won on the battlefront, but a more substantial battle was won in the minds and hearts of the American people
State and Defense Department officials believed the United States military defeat in Vietnam resulted from critical and inaccurate media reports of activities in theater. At home, sympathetic media coverage of the anti-war activities contributed to a growing number of dissenters during the conflict and unfortunate attitudes regarding American soldiers, sailors, and marines occupied in the struggle
The key objective during the Gulf War was to win the home front. By utilizing the media as a resourceful informant, the Bush administration and the American military revitalized the military’s image as the predominant military power in the world, authorizing the United States the capability to achieve the country’s national objectives during the military campaign
One month before the Iraqi invasion, Americans were preoccupied with domestic issues; drugs, crime, state of the economy, and federal budget deficits
In the early stages of planning, the administration and the pentagon’s focus was on the undivided attention of mobilizing public support through the media. In this regard, the administration leveraged the media for political purposes in unprecedented means. Planners knew this was going to be a difficult task. This war was the first prime time, twenty-four hour, color commentary war with public relations briefings from the commanders in charge
A constant theme prior to military action was the successful metaphors of Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler. Many Americans were not familiar with Saddam Hussein, but most Americans can identify Hitler and the atrocities of World War II
The Pentagon wanted to avoid at all costs the same relationship it experienced with the media during Vietnam. Censorship was not an option because of the public relations failures of the Vietnam conflict
The manipulation of information being released to the American public originated after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The service chiefs decided that to divulge the extent of the disaster would be unacceptable to the public. Thus, the chiefs employed censorship among the media and press corps. Shortly after the attack, Secretary of State Frank Knox held a press conference and stated the USS Arizona was the only loss in the assault. It was not until after the war that the public was informed of the five battleships lost at Pearl Harbor.
Vietnam established an environment that would affect the relationship between the military and the media for years to come. This marked the beginning of a new era in combat coverage leaving the pentagon unprepared to manage news reports. Technology would render censorship an ineffective method of controlling exposure, allowing Vietnam to be the first war brought into American living rooms via television
The administration discovered that appealing to the patriotic ideas that worked in World War II and Korea was not going to be effective in Vietnam
In Vietnam, aggressive reporting informed a callous public about the futility of the conflict’s strategy- a strategy that ignored the need for public support
Despite the media’s complaints about the military’s management of the press, the American public believed coverage of the war was excellent. Polls verify how effective the military was in controlling the media during the war. A Newsweek poll found that 59% felt better about the media after the war. Likewise, an ABC/Washington Post found that 88% surveyed said the military gained respect
On January 17, one day after the bombing began a USAF C-141 Cargo plane with 126 news media personnel on board left Andrews Air Force Base. [22] The fact that senior military commanders dedicated one cargo plane to the job of transporting another 126 journalists to Saudi Arabia demonstrated the military’s commitment to take reporters to the scene of the action so they could tell the story to American people
The Pentagon learned the lessons from Vietnam and devised a well conceived plan to accommodate the media and tell the story to the American people
There was a lesson learned in the discovery about the Gulf war and media coverage. All concerned must communicate the goals of policies and the objectives of military operations clearly and simply enough so that the widest of audiences can envision the ways and the means being used to reach those goals. This understanding starts with the President, descends to the most junior soldier, and then reaches to the average citizen