The Military and the Media
Al-Jazeera | June 12, 2010
This week Al Jazeera’s The Listening Post brings you a special episode on the military and the media, from Hollywood shoot-em-ups to Pentagon-sponsored spin doctors. Plus a look at the video war games that are literally putting youngsters in the line of fire.
Propaganda is at its most effective when the audience does not know it is being manipulated and one of the best, glitziest examples of that is when propaganda is delivered on the big screen in the guise of a Hollywood blockbuster.
The US army, navy, air force, marine corps, coast guard, and even the department of defence itself have established a beach-head in Hollywood. For as long as there have been movies, the US government has collaborated with filmmakers to ensure that their view of the world was shared with audiences around the world.
From Frank Capra and Walt Disney to Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay, Hollywood directors have for many years consulted closely with the US government and military to bring greater authenticity to their movies. In return for their advice, personnel and even equipment, the US military gets a slickly produced feature length advertisement that airs across the world.
Our Newsdivide this week examines how the US military trades access and equipment in exchange for a hand in shaping the big-screen perception of America’s armed forces, if not the country as a whole.
Quick hits from the media world in Newsbytes: War films that win accolades from critics but fall flat with audiences; puppets of the Pentagon – retired generals go on the offensive on television talk shows; and can GE, a company involved in making missiles in addition to TV comedies, be objective in their reporting of war?
Video war games
Our feature story this week takes a look at the video war games used as recruiting tools.
Modern warfare can at times resemble a video game, with technology that allows armies to launch attacks and watch the results from computer consoles hundreds or thousands of miles away. And game-makers are getting better and better at simulating the sights and sounds of the war zone experience.
The gaming shelves of video stores around the world are crammed with titles like Call of Duty are heavily influenced by contemporary conflict scenarios – often from the Middle East.
The Listening Post’s Robin Armstrong examines a trend that is putting the graphic reality of war on the computer screens of young people around the world.
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