Mainstream media journalists are war criminals

Peace through Peace Journalism? Alternatives to war journalism and their opportunities

Table of Contents

1.1 Preliminary remarks on the question
1.2 Issue
1.3 Procedure

2.1 Preliminary remarks
2.1.1 Period considered
2.1.2 Type of view
2.1.3 Notes on the terms used
2.1.4 Structure concept
2.2 War journalism from 1854 to
2.2.1 The Crimean War: Beginning of War Journalism
2.2.2 The American Civil War and the tabloids
2.2.3 The Spanish-American War and the Power of the Press
2.3 War journalism from 1914 to
2.3.1 The First World War and media control
2.3.2 The Spanish Civil War: Journalists as "perpetrators of conviction"
2.3.3 The Second World War and the “nationalization” of the media
2.4 War journalism from 1945 to
2.4.1 The Vietnam War and TV
2.4.2 The Falklands War The prime example of shielding the press
2.4.3 The Grenada Intervention and the "Lessons from Vietnam"
2.4.4 The Panama Intervention: The Touchstone of the New Press Policy
2.5 War Journalism from 1990 to Today
2.5.1 The Gulf War 1990/91 and the pool system
2.5.2 The Somalia Intervention: Big Business
2.5.3 The war in Croatia: the hour of the big PR agencies
2.5.4 The war in Bosnia-Herzegovina: taking sides for the victims
2.5.5 The war in Kosovo: journalists as "soldiers" of NATO
2.5.6 The 2003 Gulf War and the “embedding” of the media
2.6 Final considerations
2.6.1 Negative characteristics of war journalism
2.6.2 12 points of negative war journalism

3.1 Preliminary remarks
3.1.1 Comments on the concept of peace
3.1.2 Structure concept
3.2 Johan Galtung
3.2.1 Conflict Theory
3.2.2 “High road” and “low road” of reporting
3.2.3 Important peace journalistic questions about a conflict
3.2.4 Delimitation of peace journalism from war journalism
3.2.5 Ten Suggestions for War Reporting
3.2.6 Eligibility for peace journalism
3.2.7 Fixed frame through message selection
3.2.8 Breakout of news selection
3.2.9 Conclusion
3.3 Walter Philips Davison
3.3.1 Stable situation through communication
3.3.2 The potential of communication
3.3.3 Six tasks for the mass media
3.3.4 Structure immanent limitations of the media
3.3.5 Suggested solutions to structural constraints
3.3.6 Improving the media infrastructure
3.3.7 Conclusion
3.4 Wilhelm Kempf
3.4.1 Peace Journalism versus Affiliate Journalism
3.4.2 Considerations on the course of the conflict
3.4.3 Guidelines for Preventive Peace Journalism
3.4.4 Critical Peace Journalism
3.4.5 Conclusion
3.5 Final considerations
3.5.1 Basic characteristics of peace journalism
3.5.2 12 points of peace journalism

4.1 Direct comparison between peace and violent journalism
4.1.1 12 points of peace journalism versus 12 points of negative war journalism
4.1.2 A comparison of the phases of the impact of peace and violent journalism
4.2 Comparative and critical consideration of the peace journalistic concepts of Galtung, Davison and Kempf
4.3 Practical Applications of Peace Journalism Principles

5.1 Preliminary remarks
5.1.1 Subject of investigation
5.1.2 War under consideration
5.1.3 Period considered
5.1.4 Investigation focus
5.2 Investigation of the daily News regarding the theming of all victims
5.2.1 Procedure
5.2.2 Data Collection
5.2.3 Evaluation
5.2.4 Result
5.3 Investigation of the daily News regarding the speaking of all elite and non-elite persons
5.3.1 Procedure
5.3.2 Data collection
5.3.3 Evaluation
5.3.4 Result
5.4 Conclusion of the investigation






Armored US vehicles enter the centrally located Fedouz Square in Baghdad. Soldiers secure all access roads to the square. It is April 9, 2003. This scene is from ZDF -Correspondent Ulrich Tilgner and followed "live" by journalists from all over the world. The place is within sight of the Palestine -Hotel that houses most of the foreign reporters who covered the Iraqi capital during the Gulf War. At least Tilgner had previously received a tip that the US Army was advancing into the city center without knowing what its origin was (cf. Tilgner 2003: 124). With slight hesitation, Iraqis also approach the square. After the first attempts to tear the Saddam Hussein statue from its base failed, a tank moves closer. Only with a metal chain and effort does the vehicle finally overturn the statue.

The symbolic images of the event become famous worldwide and mark the beginning of the end of the Saddam Hussein regime. An image that the American government knew how to use for propaganda purposes as a symbol of (unstoppable) victory. An image that temporarily secured audience ratings for the media. The scenes of April 9, 2003 illustrate the close relationship between the military and the media: the media knew that US troops were advancing, the military knew that the world's cameras would be aimed at them. Would the Americans have occupied this space, which was open on all sides, if no media had been present to register this scene? Probably not. And the other way around: Would the cameras have been pointed at the empty square without the presence of US soldiers? Probably not. Whether they like it or not, the media or journalists play an active role in wars through their mere presence. Due to their inherent abilities of an "agenda setter"1, they have (temporarily) influence on the course of the war.

With the Gulf War 2003 at the latest, the debates about the role and influence of the media in the course of crises flared up again. Old questions about the appropriate behavior of journalists in the crisis area gain new relevance not least because of the massive recruitment of so-called "embedded journalists" into the American and British troops during the war. The "embedding"2 The apparent lack of physical and psychological distance from what is happening is one of the key points in the interdisciplinary discussion of war journalism. Political science moves mainly in the area of ​​international relations in this debate and thus concentrates on the potential of television in particular to help shape foreign policy decision-making processes. The focus of media studies is directed more towards the structure inherent peculiarities of the media and their social influence. Both disciplines assume that the media (the view of) can decisively (negatively) shape the conflict. As in previous debates on other wars, the 2003 Gulf War again identified potentials and weaknesses in a negative sense in the media. With regard to the question of how to correct these inadequacies, one perspective in particular is increasingly finding its way into the debate on the role of the media: the perspective of peace journalism.

1.1 Preliminary remarks on the question

This approach, which arises from peace research and was developed over 30 years ago, tries to look for possibilities and to submit concrete suggestions how the media could use their existing potential in conflicts so that they could have an arbitrating effect instead of negative, ie aggravating . Peace journalism starts at the point where current journalism fails in crises. The peace journalism concept is not about reformulating old demands for “more objectivity”. On the contrary, the frequent call for journalistic objectivity - especially in relation to wars - appears to him as a prerequisite for "more peaceful" reporting not only difficult, but also unrealistic in places. If objectivity as a work credo is necessary and desirable for everyday journalistic work, it becomes obsolete as a guideline for working in crisis situations in foreign assignments. Objectivity in the narrower, naive sense leads to the following facts being overlooked.

Most of the relevant authors agree that the presence of the journalist in a crisis region should be seen as an influencing factor, as demonstrated by the scenes on Fedouz Square (cf. Bilke 2002: 135 and Carruthers 2000: 242 f.) . The rival parties recognize the invaluable value of the media for them. Journalists are seen as a mouthpiece for “their cause” and are used accordingly (cf. Carruthers 2000: 242 f.). In other words, there is a risk that the presence of foreign correspondents will provoke (media-effective) productions or at least a distortion in the reproduction of actual events. The sheer objectivity limits the journalist to a pure observer function, which prevents him from ascertaining the reality behind the construction. This behavior can have an escalating effect on conflicts, i.e. make peace negotiations more difficult and accelerate the outbreak of violence.3

The considerations show that the mistakes of current war journalism are not automatically committed willfully. They also raise the question of which other negative aspects of war journalism influence the conflict and to what extent the representatives of peace journalism think they have created a theoretical and practical alternative with their concept. In addition to the interest in the tension between war and peace journalism, the classification of the daily News - Reporting on the Gulf War 2003 in this area of ​​tension make up a focus of this work. That classification should be explored in relation to the following question.

1.2 Issue

Will be the most important German news program, the daily one daily News the ARD at 8:00 p.m., do justice to the demands of peace journalism?

1.3 Procedure

To answer the questions asked above, proceed as follows. In the first part of the present work, the negative characteristics of war journalism are highlighted on the basis of the now 150-year history of modern war reporting. A look back at selected wars should show that the media in general and correspondents in particular played a predominantly negative or at least ambivalent role, especially in times of war. The above-mentioned negative aspects are to be summarized at the end of the second chapter and thus offer the "attack surface" for the concepts of peace journalism.

In the next step, building on the final considerations of the previous chapter, concepts of peace journalism are to be introduced, which understand themselves as an answer to war journalism. Concepts by three relevant authors should show ideas and ways of reporting that promotes peace. Finally, the core characteristics of peace journalism should be summarized again.

With the concise comparison of the results of the previous two chapters and the critical examination of the peace journalistic concepts of the selected authors, the fourth chapter represents both an interim balance and a transition to the actual investigation of this work.

On the basis of two principles of peace journalism, the fifth chapter of the thesis will investigate whether these principles were already being applied in “the” German television news during the Gulf War in 2003. For this purpose, the daily News - Analyzes of broadcasts within a selected period of time during the conflict in the Gulf. Finally, the results of the investigation should be presented in the conclusion.

The present work should conclude with an outlook on the chances of peace journalism in the near future.


Representatives of peace journalism, who see their concept as a positive counterpart to war journalism, repeatedly pursue the following core question in their considerations: How should journalists and home editorial offices report in times of war so that they can have a de-escalating effect on the conflicts they are observing instead of exacerbating them?

2.1 Preliminary remarks

Before this work presents three peace researchers and their approaches to answering this question in the next chapter, it makes sense to work out and shed light on the conflict-intensifying aspects of previous war reporting on the basis of their history. They are intended to show that previous war journalism often to predominantly had a negative effect on the course of the conflict.

2.1.1 Period considered

A look back at the history of war journalism from the Crimean War in 1854 to the Gulf War in 2003 is intended to reveal its peculiarities, constraints and errors and thus at the same time the starting points for the criticism of the representatives of peace journalism. The restriction to the time span of approximately 150 years occurs for several reasons. In fact, the history of war reporting in the broadest sense can be traced back to antiquity (cf. Dominikowski 1993: 36). This results in an unmanageable period of time that would go far beyond the scope of the present work.

As will be explained, it can be said with some justification that the first officially posted war reporter began his work in the Crimean War and that this war can therefore be seen as the beginning of war journalism.

In addition, the economic-political processes (commercialization, internationalization) and not least the technological "revolutions" (telegraphy to satellite telephony) of the last century and a half have shaped today's war journalism, as this chapter of the work is intended to illustrate.

Furthermore, it will not be possible to go into every war since 1854. The focus should be on armed conflicts in which the media played a special role or the course and outcome of which had a major influence on the development of war journalism.

2.1.2 Type of view

The question posed above about the path to peaceful crisis reporting already contains an important perspective on the following historical outline of war journalism. It implies a priori that the media influence the course of conflict. Therefore, the discussion about the question of the existence of one since the Gulf War 1990/91 also plays a role in this work CNN -Effect4 (see 2.5.1) mentioned media influence on conflicts does not play a major role. Although there is no consensus in the relevant literature on the quantity and quality of media influence on political decision-making processes in crisis situations (cf.Dietz / Menzel 1999: 15 and Dietz 2000: 4), there is a certain, indirect influence on the part of the media (about public opinion) on politics is undisputed (cf. Davison 1974: 6, 19).

For the present review, it is not so much the question of whether, but rather the question of how the media or the war journalism they operate can have a negative impact on the course of a crisis.

However, before we can answer how war journalism has a negative or escalating effect on crises, it is necessary, in a further step, to examine the various “influences” that (have) shaped it. In this context, Beham identifies three pillars on which war reporting is built: 1. the politico-military interests of warfare, 2. the economic interests of media companies, and 3. the interests of the recipients (cf. Beham 1996: 74).

For the present work, however, it is more appropriate to speak more generally of influences instead of special interests. The economic interests can therefore be described as economic influences and the politico-military together with the recipient interests as socio-political influences. In addition, another influence on war journalism can be identified. New achievements in the

Communication technology throughout history has had a decisive influence on the work of the reporters, as will be shown later. This results in three main influencing factors, which can be briefly described as follows: 1. Sociopolitical influence, 2. Technical progress and 3. Economic constraint. The latter represents a constant in war reporting over the past 150 years. In order to avoid repetition, the economic factor should only be exemplified in selected wars.

The relevant influencing variables, according to which the development of the negative aspects should be based, can be shown schematically as follows. Figure 1 is also intended to illustrate that the ambivalent relationship between war journalism (shaped by the influences) and the conflict orwhose involved parties are also decisive for the local reappraisal of war journalism.

Figure not included in this excerpt

Fig. 1: Diagram showing the direct and indirect influences on conflicts

2.1.3 Notes on the terms used

In the broadest sense, the term "war journalism" should not only be used as a term for the work of journalists in the war zone, but also as an overarching interaction between reporters on site, home editorial offices, press and PR agencies.

Furthermore, war journalism does not mean “reprehensible journalism” a priori. Instead, the individual negative sides of war journalism should be shown on the basis of the selected conflicts and later summarized with the umbrella term "negative war journalism" in order to avoid misunderstandings.

The term “media” used in the following should be understood in the narrower sense as “news media”, analogous to the term “news media” used in the relevant English-language literature.

2.1.4 Structure concept

The history of war journalism is divided into four different phases, the end of which is accompanied by a global political change or the end of a war. The effects of those phases on war correspondence are of different nature and can be outlined as follows:

The first phase begins with the Crimean War and the first war journalists (see above) and ends with the end of the “golden age” of war reporting (cf. Knightley 2003: 43 ff.) With the beginning of the First World War in 1914. Established in this pioneering period war correspondence as a profession. The main focus here is on the effects of commercialization, telegraphy and photography on the new profession.

The second phase includes the period of the First and Second World Wars. That period was marked by the efforts of the nation states to consistently exploit the press and the new media, such as film and radio, for propaganda purposes. War journalism is inevitably becoming part of the war effort.

The Cold War era provides the framework for the third phase, which ends with the beginning of the Gulf War in 1990/91. Without a doubt, the role of journalists in the Vietnam War and the consequences of the US debacle in Southeast Asia are crucial for the media.

The fourth phase covers war reporting from the early 1990s to the present day. In this phase, the more subtle attempts by politics and the military to win over the (news) media are particularly interesting. In terms of viewing the daily News Broadcasts on the last Gulf War in the fourth chapter of the work, it makes sense to shed light on precisely that last phase in which the electronic media, including television in particular, played a major role.

In the last part of this chapter, the negative influences of war reporting on the course of the conflict will be summarized once again in note form.

2.2 War journalism from 1854 to 1914

The war in Crimea heralds the pioneering days of war journalism. Even in this phase, journalists were faced with the dilemma of either accepting the restrictions imposed by the military and thereby gaining at least part of the information, or of devoting themselves entirely to their professionalism, not tolerating any restrictions and taking the risk of missing out. The economic stimulus and pressure from home editorial offices as well as the warfare led many journalists to choose the former option. The ambivalent relationship between the military and reporters should also determine the image of war journalism in all future wars.

2.2.1 The Crimean War and Russell's Legacy

- The "first" war correspondent -

The declaration of war against Russia in 1854, which the British celebrated with enthusiasm, prompted the Londoner newspaper with the highest circulation at the time Timesto send the journalist William Howard Russell to the Crimean War in order to meet the enormous information needs of the population. This was the first “official” war reporter to be dispatched (cf. Knightley 2003: 2 ff. And Neuman 1995: 34).

Though there were reporters covering theaters of war before Russell, his reports were to them Times of such importance that they should shape future reporting. His reports and their influence in the English population, together with the war euphoria and the immense demand for front reports, triggered a veritable boom in war correspondence.

- The mass press -

This boom was made possible primarily by the emergence of the mass press, which ensured that news from the war was widely and quickly distributed. It was this that gave war reporting its significance (cf. Kassel 2003: 8). The mass distribution of negative reports meanwhile increased the suspicion of war reporters among those responsible for the war.

Russell didn't have anything to report about the war. On the contrary, he relentlessly described the run-down state of the English army (cf. McLaughlin 2002: 50). After initial hesitation, the printed Times Russell's reports when she realized her worth. In the meantime, other newspapers had followed suit with their own correspondents' reports on the poor command of the army (cf. Beham 1996: 14).

- The first press censorship -

The rapporteurs were soon seen as a threat. The military felt compelled to put in place "protective measures" against the reports that were unfavorable to them. As a result, military officials banned Russell (and the other journalists) from entering any military facilities and operations. From this point on, the press control and news control determined the relationship between the media and the military (cf. Schrader 2002: 46).

A new problem had arisen. Russell and his colleagues now had to interview returning soldiers from operations in order to obtain important information despite the censorship. They were forced to report something they hadn't seen themselves; a difficulty that war journalists often face to this day. Perhaps with foresight, Russell therefore called himself "the unhappy father of a hapless family" (Knightley 2003: 2).

Regardless of this, since Russell's work the concept of the journalist “on the front” has prevailed. It enabled newspaper publishers to get “newsworthy” information quickly and directly. Despite his objectivity and criticism, the war correspondent's "father" made a mistake. Like many reporters after him, Russell, himself a friend of the military, considered himself part of the force (cf. Knightley 2003: 16). The lack of distance has been the greatest weakness of war journalists from the start and thus the greatest vice of war journalism.

2.2.2 The American Civil War and the tabloids

- The "acceleration" of the message through telegraphy -

The dense flow of information in the mass press was soon to be accelerated by a technical innovation, the Morse Code. With the presentation of his first text encryption in 1837 and the first practical implementation by the telegraph line between Washington D.C. and Baltimore seven years later, Morse started an information transmission revolution.

“Up until the 1840s, information could only move as fast as a human could transport it; in the same way: as fast as a train could go, namely, [...], about 55 kilometers an hour. "(Postman 2000: 83)

During the USA's war against Mexico in 1846, the telegraph network had not yet been expanded so far to the south that it would have been of great use to reporters (cf. Galtung / Vincent 1992: 195). It was different at the beginning of the American Civil War in 1861: the network reached far into the southern states and became of inestimable value for the newspapers. The previously unknown transmission speed made it possible to “deliver” a message in a fraction of the time previously required. Newspaper readers could now read some (war) reports from the previous day instead of having to wait days for news.

The messages that were sent over the telegraph remained largely superficial, without context. Reports remained short and concise in their execution, not least because fees were charged for the use of the technology (cf. ibid.) And the reporters had to reckon with the fact that the line could be cut at any time (cf. Raue 1995: 125).

The speed of the message transmission created framework conditions that had a decisive effect on the structure and content of the message. The value of the message was measured by its exclusivity rather than its content.

"Sending a summary of a battle by telegraph meant adopting a new style: crisp, concise, and packed with facts - the beginning of the who-how-where-when-why dictum that remains basically unchanged in popular news reporting today." Knightley 2003: 49)

The new medium had shaped a new (war) journalism. The increased focus on sensations in turn generated a new readership whose demand for more "headlines" had to be served by the newspapers (cf. McLaughlin 2002: 28). This went so far that at a time when there was nothing to report about the war, the pressure was given in in an unprofessional manner, such as Wilbur F. Storey's request from the Chicago Times to his reporter shows:

"Telegraph fully all news you can get and when there’s no news send rumors." (Quoted from Knightley 2003: 23)

McLaughlin aptly sums up the ambivalent influence of telegraphy on war reporting as follows:

"The new technology improved the means of reporting war but not the quality and reliability of the journalism." (2002: 29)

- War Journalism as Business and Propaganda -

Favored by the mass press and the telegraph, a more sensational type of reporting developed. The American Civil War marked the rise of the tabloid press. The rules of the popular press were simple: a sensational first report as quickly as possible, a so-called "scoop"5, land. It was not the content of a report but its effect on the readers that was decisive. The cruelty and suffering on the battlefields of the American Civil War did not become the content of a report for the sake of clarification or deterrence, but for reasons of sensation and increased circulation (cf. Beham 1996: 17).

The competition for the best war reports triggered a veritable “press war” among the papers themselves (cf. Schrader 2002: 46). The need for sensational reports and the urge of many war journalists to become famous by them led to reports being invented. There were reports of skirmishes that never took place and of cities that were captured but never actually experienced an invasion (cf. McLaughlin 2002: 52).

But reports about actual events in the American Civil War often only gave a partially distorted picture of everyday war life. Reporters got themselves into debt for getting too involved in the point of view of the war party or the editorial team. There was largely a lack of professional distance from the events of the war and propaganda influences.

On the Confederate side in particular, the reporters were grossly unprofessional. Truthfulness was subordinated to the patriotism and loyalty of "own" troops. In order to strengthen morale and cohesion, reports were glossed over and manipulated (cf. Schrader 2002: 46).

Conscientious, matter-of-fact reporters formed the minority. Even the foreign journalists from Europe, who supposedly had more experience and were apparently not committed to any “side”, twisted reality according to the needs of their editors (cf. Knightley 2003: 22). The reports of the British Timeswho shared the Confederate cause even sparked a wave of mutual contempt that cast a shadow over UK-US relations. According to Knightley, it took an entire generation to normalize the relationship between the two states again (cf. 2003: 36).

Russell, who was also a war correspondent for the British during the Civil War Times worked, delivered, as one of the few, critical reports, which brought him anger both on the part of the two warring parties and on the part of the local editorial team. He finally bowed to the high pressure and decided to return to England (cf. Beham 1996: 21).

In addition to the urge for quick and sensational reports, the urge for financial gain also exerted considerable pressure on war journalism. The market pressure was such that the papers were able to increase their circulation and thus their profits almost exclusively with “scoops” and partisan reports from the war zone that attracted readers. This in turn led to the compulsion not to let the flow of new headlines break, which again resulted in the time pressure to be faster than the competition. With that the vicious circle was perfect.

Despite the high financial outlay and the dispatch of around 500 war journalists during the Civil War, newspaper readers on both sides of the Atlantic were rarely adequately informed about the events of the war. The partisan and untruthful reporting was the result of the inadequacy of the reporters on site, as well as the economic and political opportunism of the publishers.

- Attempts at regulation by the military -

During the American Civil War, war correspondence established itself as an independent branch of journalism (cf. Knightley 2003: 41). The economic gain from the reports "from the front" justified the expensive entertainment of war reporters. During the American Civil War, war journalism made tremendous progress in the economic and technical fields, but not in the field of morality and professionalism.

However, there was scope for this. Despite individual efforts to keep the journalists away from the fighting, they were largely freed from repression (cf. Knightley 2003: 27 ff.). There was no centrally managed censorship because the warring parties at that time were unable to effectively control 500 reporters. Instead of control, the warring parties tried to influence journalists through agitation and bribery. This was shown in the attempts of both the northern and southern states to move the English press to partisanship with agitation and money transfers (cf. Knightley 2003: 34 f.).6

Another method of influencing reporters in a more subtle way was devised by Edwin McMasters Stanton, Abraham Lincoln-appointed Secretary of War. He established the first rules for dealing with the media. This included daily reports that were written in the interests of the military and passed on to the press (cf. Schrader 2002: 46): A type of procedure that should be found in modern wars in the form of press conferences by military speakers.

But not only in America was the effectiveness of journalism in general and war reporting in particular recognized as opinion leaders. Bismarck always kept an eye on the press in his policy, especially in the run-up to and during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71. News blackouts and bans were imposed to prevent reports on troop movements and other military events (cf. Beham 1996: 23). In contrast to France, which did not grant journalists access to its own troops, Bismarck allowed foreign reporters to accompany the German army, which earned him benevolent reporting in both Great Britain and the USA (cf. Knightley 2003: 49). He knew how high the influence of the press was on public opinion and took advantage of it.

While the German press had to experience the first regulatory measures, the power of the American print media was apparently still unbroken. The inclusion of the photograph in the newspapers played its part.

2.2.3 The Spanish-American War and the Power of the Press

- The new "authenticity" through photography -

In addition to the newspapers “accelerated” by telegraphy, photography literally revealed new insights into what was happening in the war. A series of inventions in the 20s and 30s of the 19th century by Nicéphore Niepce, Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot made it possible to photograph objects and still scenes. Photography, “writing with light” (Postman 2000: 92) was invented. Roger Fenton made a name for himself as the first war photographer during the Crimean War in the middle of the 19th century. The (still) long exposure time made it impossible for the war photographer to take pictures of movements like in battle.The fact that Fenton deliberately did not photograph any victims gave the viewer a “clean” picture of the war (cf. McLaughlin 2002: 28).

During the American Civil War, Mathew B. Brady made a name for himself with war photography. In contrast to Fenton, he financed his work privately, as he had not received an official appearance. His aim was to use the new medium to document the war and bring it closer to the population in a "realistic" way. He also exhibited photographs of dead soldiers in galleries, which he used to look good (cf. Freund 1979: 118). During Brady's creative period, photographs were still “copied” for the illustration of newspaper articles, as the technical prerequisites for printing photographs were not created until around 1870 (cf. Galtung / Vincent 1992: 195).

With the eventual "integration" of photography into the newspaper industry, an enormous demand for it had been created. The photography should give the reporting a new "authenticity", as Postman makes clear:

“[...] the photo gave the strange place and date lines a concrete reality and gave faces to the unknown names. So it at least created the illusion that «the news» had something to do with one's own area of ​​experience. ”(2000: 96)

The seemingly new “experience”, the additional “seeing with your own eyes”, reduces the reflective distance to the written message. Photography becomes one of the "[...] most effective means of shaping our ideas and influencing our behavior [...]" (Freund 1979: 6 f.). Indeed, the invention of photography marks the beginning of the shift from text-based to image-based war journalism.

- War journalism as a political influencing factor -

At the end of the 19th century, the big American press houses in particular took advantage of the powerful opinion-forming potential of the now photographically illustrated newspaper articles. The "journalist’s war", as the Spanish-American War of 1898 was also called, is a prime example of how attempts were made to exert one-sided influence on the public and politics with partisan reporting.

William Randolph Hearst gave his New York Journal the order to move the American public in favor of supporting the rebels in Spanish-occupied Cuba. Hearst sent an employee to the island for photographic documentation, but he wanted to return because of the lack of "sensations". Hearst then telegraphed the following famous words:

"Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I will furnish the war. "(Quoted from Lande 1996: 127)

It was clear to Hearst that the suggestive power of images was greater than that of the written word.

With the propaganda that followed, which reported largely fabricated atrocities committed by Spanish colonial rule against the Cuban population, the press, above all that, pushed New York Journal and the New York Worldto “do something” for the United States, knowing full well that American intervention in Cuba would mean a huge increase in sales. According to Strobel, "[t] the mass circulation presses of William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, the telegraph, and the development of a more popular writing style aimed at the masses" (1997: 22) were responsible for the high pressure exerted by the public would generate on politics. Due to the time pressure created artificially by the media, the US government was forced to take a position. In such a situation the chance for a peaceful conflict resolution diminished because it was time consuming. Although the ultimate decision to intervene in Cuba rests with the US government, much of the responsibility for the military option lies with the press, which has clearly exacerbated the US-Spain situation.

The economic boom of colonialism at the beginning of the 20th century continued to ensure that there were enough wars around the globe and thus also for the continuous dispatch of war reporters. The necessary domestic interest in extensive reporting due to the “more popular writing style” and the almost absence of news censorship from the state allowed war journalism to flourish and its potential to influence readers and its market potential for the media increased. According to Knightley, it was the "golden age" of war journalism (cf. Knightley 2003: 43 ff.).

2.3 War journalism from 1914 to 1945

The ubiquitous nationalism at the beginning of the 20th century should not only lead to the first great material battle in world history, but also to the end of the “golden age” of war reporting. Just as society and politics served nationalism, so too journalism had to bow. The Second World War continued this "tradition". A wave of nationalization of the media set in, which was supposed to guarantee its conformity with the goals of the warring parties. The media have been harnessed and abused for the purposes of politics to an unprecedented extent.

2.3.1 The First World War and media control

- The atrocity propaganda -

The First World War marked the beginning of the systematic exploitation of the press channels to spread alleged atrocities by the opposing war party. The atrocity propaganda was "invented". Your goal is to stir up hatred of the enemy. The authenticity of the atrocity was almost never questioned. The few inquiries for investigation were dismissed as unpatriotic. Apparently official sources have not been challenged.

After the German troops marched into neutral Belgium in 1914, a large number of reports were written about barbaric crimes committed by the German army against the civilian population. A particularly large number of atrocity stories emerged from the British and French press. The French newspapers launched so many such reports that they no longer gave them individual headings, but only the title "Les Atrocités Allemandes"7 awarded (see Knightley 2003: 87). In 1915 a British commission headed by Bryce, a former ambassador to Washington, published the Bryce Report, translated into 30 languages, which reported alleged German crimes against Belgian women in particular. The report was given a lot of weight by the respected members of the commission and was therefore not criticized. It was only after the war that it turned out that the entire report was based on rumors (cf. Knightley 2003: 87 f.). But he had achieved the goal; to stir up hatred of the enemy.

However, as the war continued, the war euphoria faded. In order to persuade the population to persevere, more and more insane rumors were spread in the press. Probably the most stubborn was that of the 1917 Times launched a rumor that the Germans would distill glycerine for their ammunition from the corpses of the Allied fallen (cf. Knightley 2003: 111 f.).

The openness or lack of criticism of the press towards such reports had its origin not only in the patriotism of the individual editorial offices, but rather in the economic calculations of the editors. Similar to the first reports in the Civil War, the atrocity reports in World War I became good business for the press. The increased demand was soon met by the newspapers.

The British government, for example, countered the war weariness in Europe, which increased with the duration of the battles, by sending political and social celebrities to the front. The troop visits, cannibalized by the media, were intended to strengthen the morale of the combatants again (cf. Beham 1996: 29); another method of governance that would be continued in modern wars. The American press tried, however, to maintain its neutrality vis-à-vis the European warring parties, especially since the USA had not yet entered the war. Because of their generally impartial attitude, American war journalists were hindered from working in the English camp. In addition, some of them came to the conclusion that the Allied reports of German atrocities were not based on comprehensible facts. Nevertheless, with the help of skillful propaganda work and the developed media infrastructure, the British succeeded in penetrating American politics and society with the English perspective. The United States' entry into the war was thus prepared subversively. In Europe, however, German communication was cut off from the outside world (and thus from the USA) due to Allied blockades and interruption of cable connections (cf. Carruthers 2000: 31).

- Institutionalized media control -

During the First World War one dealt scientifically with propaganda and thus also with war journalism for the first time. The control and censorship of the media was institutionalized in the form of various propaganda ministries.

In the UK, that developed Parliamentary War Aims Committee to the Ministry of Information. All British propaganda efforts were concentrated here. Dealing with war correspondents was clearly regulated in the British Army. If reporters were caught in France, they were arrested and deported. The rude treatment of the journalists soon brought the British government a lot of criticism (also from the USA, whose war correspondents were only allowed to work on the German side). In 1915, the British war leaders agreed with some newspapers to "accept" six selected journalists into the army. In fact, the accredited reporters wore uniforms and had the rank of captain. They were assigned censors who accompanied them day and night and were authorized to examine personal letters themselves. The journalists who continued to do their own research in the war still had a difficult time. Nothing changed in their situation (cf. Knightley 2003: 89 ff.).

When the American government entered the war in 1917, they took the leadership of public opinion into their own hands. President Wilson commissioned that Committee on Public Information (CPI) with the mobilization of the pro-war mood in the public. In fact it was the case CPI around the first American Ministry of Propaganda (cf. Hils 2002: 75). The previously neutral stance of the American people was soon to turn into an anti-German one. The committee received active support from the owner of the Londoners Times and des Daily Mail (cf. Beham 1996: 33).

The US military also had censorship regulations in the European war zone, which after a period of time led to self-censorship among journalists, which Strobel explains as follows:

"[...] correspondents were permitted access to the front; in return, they voluntarily submitted to review of their dispatches. Many correspondents simply chose to censor themselves. " (1997, p. 25)

As with the Allies, maintaining the enthusiasm for the war among its own population was the top priority in German warfare. However, the path was not the same. German propaganda relied on conveying German superiority and concealing any weaknesses. In the empire, freedom of the press was subject to patriotism. Journalists were only allowed to write about the war in the interests of the military. The military decided whether or not reporters were allowed access to the scenes and operations. The coordination of press censorship was the task of the war press office, which was under the leadership of the military. From here brochures, communiqués and books were produced and censored. The reports that were spread could not be corrected or supplemented. The war press office was the only source of war news for the German population (cf. Knightley 2003: 90).

- The silent film as the latest propaganda medium -

The further development of photography and a series of European and American inventions at the end of the 19th century made film recordings possible (cf. Monaco 1998: 86 ff.). Even before the First World War, propaganda found its way into the new medium. The film was also suitable for presenting information of general interest to the viewer in the form of newsreel contributions. As the number of cinemas increased at the beginning of the 20th century, film enjoyed an ever larger audience both in the USA and in Europe and steadily rose to become a mass medium, it too became the focus of the propaganda efforts of the belligerents (see Hils 2002: 75).

Knowing about the suggestive power of moving images, the American Ministry of Information regulated and censored CPI the pictures taken from the First World War. Employees of private newsreel productions were only allowed to work during the war with the permission of the committee and they were denied access to the actual theater of war from the outset (cf. Doherty 1993: 87 ff.).

In Germany, the new medium was also firmly in the hands of the military. The efforts of the commander-in-chief of the German troops Ludendorff to strengthen the morale of the soldiers at the front with film screenings culminated in the establishment of the Universum Film AG (UFA) on December 18, 1917 (cf. Carruthers 2000: 69).

Despite the efforts of those involved in the war to use the moving images for their own purposes, decisive disadvantages of the film compared to the usual media prevented it from being established as an established means of propaganda:

1. The technology was still too immature and the carrier material was too fragile and unstable.
2. The film was still silent. The lack of the (commenting) tone that placed the images in the “desired” context made the propaganda success questionable (cf. Carruthers 2000: 69). The American Committee on Public Information engaged the famous "four-minute men"8which in the USA include the "newsreels"9 commented in the spirit of the entry into the war, but the great success of the film should be reserved for the upcoming sound film, which enabled the journalistic influence on the film and vice versa.

- Lost Credibility -

After the war, the true extent of the previously veiled and glorified battle became apparent. The newspapers that were identified as the carriers of the serious propaganda lies lost a great deal of their credibility among the readers (cf. Beham 1996: 37).

In Germany, the consequences of state-run war journalism were devastating. A discrepancy opened up for the population between the unceasingly proclaimed strength of the Germans and the capitulation of the imperial army. The former propagation of the German “invincibility in the field” had become so deeply imprinted on the consciousness that the belief in political betrayal arose instead of accusing the press of manipulation. Directed journalism thus co-founded the stab in the back legend, which instead of a lasting peace process generated a new wave of nationalism (cf. Beham 1996: 39).

The Allies experienced a similar phenomenon. In view of the image of the demonic enemy they had constructed, they saw themselves forced to create particularly tough conditions for surrender. They came under pressure from their own atrocity propaganda, which resulted in hatred among the people and thus the desire for severe punishment. The image of the German as a war criminal burned into the minds made it impossible for Allied politics to approach the losers in a conciliatory manner (cf. Beham 1996: 39 ff.).

The directed media created a dilemma that left both sides with a sense of injustice and weighed heavily on both reconciliation and peace itself.

In summary, for the First World War it can be said that political influence on the media and the use of existing communication networks for propaganda was further professionalized and also tolerated by the majority of journalists:

"Reporters came to accept the idea of ​​systemized restrictions on both their reporting and their movement; [...]. " (McLaughlin 2002: 63)

Their help in the diffusion of false reports and defamatory rumors contributed very strongly to the intensification of the war and to the establishment of images of hate. The actual misery of the war at the front did not serve as an occasion for peace initiatives and an end to the armed struggle. Instead, it was used by both politicians and the press as an argument to persevere.

The efforts made during the First World War to institutionalize the propaganda were vigorously continued on the eve of the Second World War, especially in Germany. The efforts of the later Allies to direct the media started with some delay and not with the ruthless consistency of the National Socialists.

2.3.2 The Spanish Civil War: Journalists as "perpetrators of conviction"

Before the Second World War broke out, however, another struggle dominated the headlines of the world press in southwestern Europe: the Spanish Civil War. In the mid-30s of the 20th century a struggle sparked between the Franco fascists and the socialist groups.The involvement of many well-known journalists and intellectuals in support of the Spanish left drew world interest to the Iberian Peninsula. Intellectuals not only allowed themselves to be involved in the propaganda, they also took an active part in the war. Ernest Hemingway, for example, was not only an American correspondent, but also taught soldiers how to use weapons (cf. Beham, 1996: 46). Other famous correspondents, such as George Orwell, who worked for the New York Statesman was traveling in Spain, took on similar active roles in the war.

Although many left-wing intellectuals took the side of the communists, their reporting to the homeland was also marked by concealment, distortion and forgery. The aim was not to tell the truth, but to shake up the world and advertise the anti-fascists. As far as the propaganda of the communists is concerned, it was in no way inferior to the caricatures conveyed by the fascists. Even the knowledge of war crimes on his “own” side did not induce Hemingway to enlighten his readers about the real situation (cf. Beham 1996: 53). The image of the “good” struggle of the anti-fascists against Franco could not be weakened. The fight against Franco ultimately failed because of the German-Italian aid and the inconsistent political concept of the various left forces.

The warring parties, not least thanks to the help of foreign war correspondents, stylized the civil war on the Iberian Peninsula into a global ideological battle between fascism and socialism. In contrast to the First or Second World War, war journalism in the Spanish Civil War was not characterized by censorship "from above", but primarily by self-censorship. Instead of neutral observers, most of the journalists were “perpetrators of conviction”.

2.3.3 The Second World War and the “nationalization” of the media

- State control of the media -

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Goebbels took up his work as Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. The aim of his endeavors was to bring the media and cultural institutions on the National Socialist course. The Propaganda Ministry, which was founded in the same year, took over the coordination of the cultural and media areas. The institutionalization of conformity was supported by the Reich Chamber of Culture, under whose direction all journalists and artists were divided into seven controlled professional chambers (press, literature, radio, theater, music, visual arts and film) (see Thamers).

In the press, analogous to the mood in the population, a feeling of insecurity and humiliation had established itself as a result of the devastating outcome of the First World War. The dissatisfied basic mood made it easier to influence and guide people's feelings with the staging of self-confident, strong images. Fear should give rise to hatred and willingness to fight. With the invasion of the demilitarized Rhineland in 1936, the selection and training of war reporters by the propaganda mission also began. The so-called Propagandakompanien (PK), which consisted of three “war reporter trains”, which in turn were divided into a word, image, film and radio group (cf. Beham 1996: 56 f. ).

The structure of the troops clearly shows the importance attached to the “new” media (film and radio) compared to the “old” media (newspapers and photography). In particular, the production of films, which were ascribed the greatest potential for influence, was subject to special regulations. So that nothing was left to chance, there were “12 commandments for film reporters” (Beham 1996: 57). The regulations show the enormous effort of media regulation by the National Socialist leadership.

The PK's German war reporters experienced a further restriction or censorship because they had to complete military training from 1940, which meant that they had to give up their theoretical neutrality altogether. The increased identification with one's own troops through the tight integration was a deliberate psychological effect: A method that was used in a similar form by the British military during the First World War (see above) and that was used in the Gulf War in 2003 under the name "embedded journalists" , or “embedded journalists” was perfected by the Pentagon (see 2.5.6).

The bulk of the messages produced by the PKs, which had already passed through several censorship instances, were forwarded to the envoys of the non-opposing foreign press, who accepted them gratefully. The urge for new news created a paragraph for the pre-censored German articles and ultimately a one-sided, pro-German view of the attacks by the Wehrmacht on Poland in 1939 and Norway in 1940 in non-allied countries (cf. Beham 1996: 59). Knowing very well about the restrictive press policy of the Allied side, the German leadership endeavored to oppose correspondents from non-Allied states with the greatest possible openness, which enabled them to temporarily win over a large part of the foreign press (cf. Knightley 2003: 240).

Institutionalization was also promoted in the allied states. In the UK, a ministry of information was set up to centrally control the control and censorship of news. Local newspapers and local American reporters protested the strict news blackout and the spread of embellished reports of British Army casualties. In France the situation was even more difficult for correspondents. Similar to the First World War, all reports had to pass through several instances of the French military leadership before the news reached the home office with a delay (cf. Knightley 2003: 239).

In the US it became Office of War Information founded for the purpose of a centrally managed press policy. With the attack by the Japanese Air Force on Pearl Harbor, strict information censorship began in the United States as well by the American propaganda institution. The devastating human and material losses in Hawaii were kept secret. Photographs of the devastating attack were sometimes destroyed. Other selected (film) recordings were only released two months late (cf. Doherty 1999: 236). The American journalists adapted to the situation and designed a kind of self-censorship by placing their “patriotic duty” towards their own country higher than truthful reporting (cf. Beham 1996: 63).

With Germany's attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, the communist leaders also decided to completely abolish the already sparse freedom of the press in order to prevent the enormous losses in the war from becoming known. A propaganda machine without equal was initialized in order to strengthen the perseverance of the Russian population (cf. Knightley 2003: 267 ff).

The few correspondents who observed the war on the Eastern Front from the Soviet side were closely monitored by the Foreign Ministry. Their reports were rigorously shortened by Russian censors, with which (not unlike the censorship of other states participating in the war) no information worth reporting was left. The little information the reporters had to take from the official communiqués or the press conferences that take place twice a week (cf. Knightley 2003: 270 f.). The strict censorship did not change even when the Red Army was on the advance again and stood before Berlin. The Soviet leaders remained suspicious of the correspondents (cf. Knightley 2003: 290).

War journalism was thus in the service of the respective governments in all states involved in the war. The media were turned into the mouthpiece of the war leaders and once again robbed of their real task.

- Film and radio as weapons of war -

The most comprehensive press and propaganda policy in Europe was carried out in Germany. The suggestive power and the psychological effect of film screenings, which were already known from the First World War, aroused increased interest of the Nazis in the moving images. However, the potential for mass steering should now be exploited more consistently.

Already in the first production of the newsreel directed by the Propaganda Ministry10 On March 21, 1933, mass effective means were used, such as marches, uniforms and heated speeches (cf. Beham 1996: 56). Leni Riefenstahl in particular caused a sensation around the world in the mid-30s with the production of seemingly monumental propaganda films such as “Triumph des Willens” and “Olympia” (see Doherty 1999: 16 ff.). The film owes its success on the German side on the one hand to the state-subsidized UFA -Film- productions. They brought German film a high level of recognition worldwide and a temporarily unrivaled position - in terms of means and staging - (cf. Doherty 1999: 26).

On the other hand, the setting moved the film further away from the theater. In silent films, the absence of sound had to be compensated for by theatrical facial expressions and gestures by the actors or by text overlay that interrupted the storyline. The sound film came much closer to the audiovisual sensory perception of humans, which potentiated its effect. With the commentary or reporting voice of the speaker, journalism (in the form of newsreels) also found its way more strongly into the film; a preliminary stage of today's television journalism. With the realistic and “creating reality” film, those who captured the war now had a powerful tool at their disposal, with which it was possible to influence the recipients more directly.

What the film achieved through its suggestive power, the radio achieved through its omnipresence. While radio was not yet fully developed for public use during the First World War (cf. Carruthers 2000: 30), it advanced to become a medium of mass and propaganda during the Second World War. This development was driven by the mass production of people's receivers, which was initiated as early as 1933, and the deliberately kept prices.11 While the film required many cinemas for its showing, only a few broadcasting stations were sufficient for broadcasting the radio. The radio was characterized by the simplicity of its distribution, which contributed to the rapid publicity of National Socialist ideas (cf. Schorr). At the borders and in occupied areas, transmitters were installed to convey propaganda “to the outside world”. The aim was to use the transmitters to counteract the hostile moods against the German occupiers in an entertaining way. In addition, radio was characterized by its immediacy. Newspapers could only report on a daily basis and the newsreel was even slower due to the technical complexity. The radio spread the news of the latest events much faster and therefore quickly rose to become the most up-to-date news medium. According to Beham, a new form of presentation was also born with radio: live broadcasting. During a German-British aerial battle, Charles Gardner became the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) to the first live reporter. From Kent in the south of England, he reported directly on what he witnessed (cf. Beham 1996: 72). The immediacy of the broadcast brought the reporter more to the fore. In contrast to the newspaper, the censorship was less noticeable on the radio. The reporter's voice (on site) suggested the authenticity of an eyewitness; A development that began with the live coverage of Cable News Networks (CNN) from Baghdad by Peter Arnett should reach its first climax during the Gulf War in 1990/91.

The restrictive involvement of the media and journalism served only one purpose: the systematic mobilization and manipulation of the population. For the phase of the two world wars, it can be said that journalists barely resisted state intervention in the hope that the situation would change. Many journalists saved the criticism for their memoirs; too late to have an effect (cf. McLaughlin 2002: 68). Charles Lynch, a Canadian reporter for the UK news agency Reuters in the Second World War sums up the role of war journalism in the phase up to 1945 aptly as follows:

“We were a propaganda arm of our governments. At the start the censors enforced that, but by the end we were our own censors. We were cheerleaders. [...] It wasn't good journalism. It wasn't journalism at all. "(Quoted from Knightley 2000: 364)

2.4 War journalism from 1945 to 1991

With the end of the Second World War, the Cold War began, which lasted more than 40 years. The United States, emerging as the great victor of the world war, claimed leadership of the free world and sought to contain the expansive communism of Soviet provenance. On the other side of the Iron Curtain, the USSR asserted a similar claim to leadership over communist states. The hardened fronts in the East-West conflict would last for almost half a century, not least due to McCarthyism12 in the USA, decisively shape war reporting. The bipolar, “good-bad” view of (proxy) wars should be mentioned here in particular.

2.4.1 The Vietnam War and TV

- The war in Southeast Asia -

After the failure of the French colonial army against the communist Vietminh13 In 1954 and their withdrawal from Indochina, the Americans stepped on the scene to prevent the communist regime of North Vietnam from expanding across the country. As part of its containment policy, the US supported the government of South Vietnam and continued to increase its military presence until the mid-1960s. American intentions in Vietnam were deliberately concealed from the public at home. Officially, the American government only supported South Vietnam with so-called military advisers (cf. McLaughlin 2002: 73). In Washington, at best, scant messages were issued about the never-declared war against the north of Vietnam, so that the correspondents in Vietnam were the only steady source of news (cf. Knightley 2003: 409 ff.).

As the conflict continued, the American government was increasingly faced with questions about the meaning of its engagement in Vietnam. The political and military leadership blamed the supposedly “overly critical” and “unpatriotic” war reporting in Vietnam for the bad mood in the country and the falling morale of the troops. But on closer inspection, American coverage of the war against the Viet Minh was not as critical as the military claimed. The journalists did not criticize the war as such, but that it was not progressing fast enough (cf. Knightley 2003: 417). Accordingly, the “correct tactics” were discussed rather than the fundamental point of the American intervention. Actually responsible for the increasing criticism of the American engagement in Vietnam were mainly two events:

On January 31, 1968, the North Vietnamese army began the Tet Offensive (named after the month "Tet" in the Vietnamese calendar), during which large areas of South Vietnamese soil were temporarily conquered. The American government, which to date has maintained that the war will soon be over, has been exposed. A few months later, in March of the same year, the massacre, named after the Vietnamese village of My Lai, took place, during which around 100 civilians were rounded up by US soldiers and executed. It was not until a year later that Seymour Hersh, a freelance journalist, managed to publicize the events that revealed the racist and inhumane actions of the US soldiers in Vietnam (cf. Knightley 2003: 424 ff.). The release of Hersh's report came at a time when the US public had already lost confidence in the government. Only now did further reports of American atrocities, previously withheld by correspondents, become known (cf. Knightley 2003: 431). The struggle against communism lost a lot of its propagated glorification and was no longer justifiable.

- The "television war" -

The war in Vietnam has been referred to as both the "living room war" and the "television war". Both descriptions are based on the claim that the televisual mass medium and the horrors of war it broadcast into living rooms are to blame for the failure of the US engagement in Vietnam. However, several aspects speak against the thesis that television war coverage was responsible for the American defeat in Southeast Asia. As the prospect of a victory in Vietnam dwindled (after the setback by the Tet offensive, see above), the media's interest in the war decreased at the same time. After 1968, when Vietnam had the highest media density with 637 foreign reporters, the number of reporters gradually ebbed. In 1974 only 35 of them followed the war on site (cf.Beham 1996: 85). In addition, various studies showed that only a small percentage of reports from the war showed heavy combat or even dead US soldiers (cf. McLaughlin 2002: 38 f.).

The fact that the number of journalists in Vietnam was declining and that only a few footage of the war battles showed, makes the thesis of an ongoing, “positive and enlightening one CNN Effect ”(Dietz / Menzel 1999: 16) of the 1960s and 70s is untenable. It remains undisputed that few gruesome images of war were of a "startling" character, but they did not occur in such a mass that they could trigger a social outbreak. In fact, the media only became more critical when the voices against the war were not heeded by the US government. Carruthers explains the sudden critical tone in the media as follows:

"Only when [...] an administration loses the will or ability to manage a story after its own fashion - as during Tet - do the mainstream media become discordant." (2000: 150) In other words: the media only filled the “vacuum” that the US government left with its opaque, discreet policies. Television was only an amplifier, but by no means the trigger for the American defeat in Vietnam. Strobel therefore comes to the conclusion that "[...] television alone did not cause the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam ”(1997: 30).

The anti-war sentiment in the USA was not a sudden reaction, but a process in which it was not the images of the cruel war, but mainly the loss of confidence in the politicians and the question of the interests of Americans in Asia that led to a change of opinion .

- The "uncensored" war -

The Vietnam War went down in history as an "uncensored" war. In fact, the reporters had almost no restriction in their work to fear. The US had never officially declared war on North Vietnam and instead always referred to the intervention as aid to South Vietnam. For this reason, no well-organized military censorship was introduced on site, as was the case, for example, in the Second World War. In this respect one can actually speak of an uncensored war.

Censorship nevertheless took place. It was not the reporters during the war but the editorial offices at home that were put under official pressure not to report certain incidents (cf. Beham 1996: 81). In addition, analogous to the Second World War, there was a predominant way of thinking among the editorial staff, according to which it was considered "unpatriotic" to spread negative reports about one's own troops. Accordingly, there were clear instructions from the editors to their correspondents, as Arnett remembers:


1 English: literally: put on the daily plan, someone or something who has the ability to determine what goes on the daily plan, i.e. determines what is important and what is not

2 English: embedding, common term for the harnessing of journalists in the military troops 6

3 as will be described in detail in the next chapter 8

4 Named after the American news channel Cable News Network (CNN), the effect describes in the broadest sense the great potential of (televisual) media to influence public opinion and political decision-making processes in the course of crises. More on this in: Strobel 1997, Dietz / Menzel 1999, Dietz 2000.

5 common English expression for a sensational first report

6 While the northern states feared British intervention, the southern states hoped that England would militarily secure its economically important cotton export.

7 French: "The German atrocities"

8 English: "four-minute men": nationwide there were 75,000 volunteer speakers who worked on behalf of the Committee on Public Information to prepare the population for war (cf. Doherty 1993: 89-90)

9 English: newsreels

10 The formerly four German newsreel companies became a single state company, German newsreels, summarized (cf. Carruthers 2000: 79).

11 When the war broke out, 70% of German households were equipped with popular receivers (cf. Carruthers 2000: 78).

12 State suspicion, spying on and persecution of representatives of liberal and progressive political views under the pretext of combating communism, first pursued in the USA in the 1950s by Senator McCarthy

13 League for the Independence of Vietnam

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