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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The French Hill Book Club

Well, guys, I said that reviews would follow when I finished reading the books in the "What I'm reading" list on the right. Well, I finished reading Media and the War on Terrorism a couple of weeks ago, but I haven't gotten around to writing a review for it until now. The book is edited by The Brookings Institute's Stephen Hess and Marvin Kelb. The book is a collection of seminars that were held at the Brookings Institute in Washington DC. It covers a range of topics from The media and the government, the war in Afghanistan, what problems journalists face, reporting from the "field", what the various perspectives are on all the players in the media and the war on terror, and what the future looks like from 9/11 and beyond.

The book was published in 2003, but the seminars stop right around the time when the US was about to invade Iraq. However, the discussions and problems discussed when it came to the war in Afghanistan and even in the wars before are eerily similar to what we are facing from the press now when it comes to the war in Iraq. For me, the people involved in the seminars, press, members of the government, and in the pentagon, are surprisingly candid. I thought that the members of the press would speak in nothng but spin language, but they were very forthright and honest about their trade, its problems and pitfalls. The ironic thing is that many of the problems they foresaw would happen with the media and with the Presidency has come true. For instance, they talk about the press' willingness to loosely and quickly throw out Vietnam terms to compare these wars to then. Like, "quagmire". Various members of the press admitted that they were ready, as was their peers, to use the term, and some of them actually did apply the term, to the war in Afghanistan after only a few weeks into the campaign. They also admitted that the press would be the same way if Iraq carried on for any more time than it took in the first Gulf War.As we've seen, that has very much happened.

I don't want to go into the book any further since that would negate any reason for you to buy it. However, I would encourage this book to anyone interested in reading a candid and open book that looks at the inside workings of the complicated and complex relationship between the media, the government, and the pentagon. Especially, as it applies to times of war, and in this unique period of time called the War on Terror. Get a look at the inside biases, dillemas, and problems that face the media. I give it 3 1/2 stars.


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