Role of Media
Spokespersons to the press regularly portray them because the country’s watchdogs, who “root about in our national life. Exposing what you deem befitting exposure,” without fear or favor.
Such self-congratulatory statements are traditionally sustaineble by mention of the Watergate exposures. Which “helped force a President from office,” as well as the media’s news coverage with the Vietnam War. Allegedly so open and critical it helped firm up popular opposition and forced the war’s negotiated settlement.
Nonetheless, many factors help with result in the mainstream press supportive of government policy and vulnerable to “news management” with the government.
This is most evident in foreign affairs reporting, where strong domestic constituencies contesting government propaganda campaigns are rare.
And through which the government can employ ideological weapons like anti-communism, a demonized enemy or alleged national security threats to maintain the press compliant.
Thus inside the 1980s the Reagan administration could demonize the Soviet Union as a possible Evil Empire, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi as premier terrorist, Grenada and Nicaragua as U.S. national security threats and Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega like a villainous drug dealer, using a high degree of mainstream media cooperation.
The media’s generous self-appraisal is support in a curious and indirect way by neo-conservative and business attacks. Which have frequently charged that the media are dominate by liberal elite, hostile to business and government.
The same Watergate-Nixon evidence and Vietnam War coverage, cited by defenders with the media as demonstrating their constructive role. Is use by conservative critics to show media excess.
Press Big Story, as an example, purported to exhibit that the media’s coverage of the 1968 Tet offensive was inaccurate, adversarial and unpatriotic. Cited often and without criticism. Big Story contributed for the now-conventional belief not only that this media was hostile towards the war. But additionally that “the outcome with the war was determined not within the battlefield, but on the printed page, and even more importantly, for the television screen.
John Corry from the New York Times press conceded that this media bias argued by Braestrup existed. But contended that it was thoughtlessness. Not deliberate subversive intent, that brought on this result.
These attacks and half-hearted and compromised defenses have seed the media well. They suggest that those in power feel pressed from the media and therefore are not insulate off their “rooting about.”
The media’s liberal defenders have also helped legitimize the media from the uncritical nature of the rebuttals to neo-conservative criticism. Thus, Herbert Gans, attacking neo-conservative charges the media are dominate by liberal elite. Answered these critics simply by lauding the media’s professionalism and objectivity.
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The beliefs that truly allow it to be in to the news are professional values. Which might be intrinsic to national journalism understanding that journalists learn on the job. The rules of news judgment necessitate ignoring story some notable exceptions, including libel and national security. A similarly constrained scope of debate is clear in Reporters Under Fire. A novel on media press bias in foreign affairs.
Media press are accused by neo-conservative. And right-wing critics Morton Kondracke, Ben Wattenberg, Daniel James, Shirley Christian and Allen Weinstein of an adversarial position for the U.S. government in their coverage of Central America in the 1980s. Also to Israel at the time of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
On the defensive, the liberals argued either the media were evenhanded. Reporters Alan Riding and Karen De Young and academics William Leo Grande and Roger Morris or that their bias against Israel. Would have been a results of a double standard, based on which better things were expect of Israel Milton Viorst.
In each case, the agenda and limits from the debate by the neo-conservatives and spokespersons for the U.S. And Israeli governments, with the opposition at best denying the alleged adversarial bias.