The Military and the Press: An Uneasy Truce

Front Cover
Northwestern University Press, Aug 14, 2006 - History - 297 pages
Because news is a weapon of war--affecting public opinion, troop morale, even strategy--for more than a century America's wartime officials have sought to control or influence the press, most recently by "embedding" reporters within military units in Iraq. This second front, where press freedom and military imperatives often do battle, is the territory explored in The Military and the Press, a history of how press-military relations have evolved during the twentieth and twenty-first century in response to the demands of politics, economics, technology, and legal and social forces.

Author Michael S. Sweeney takes a chronological approach, considering freedoms and restraints such as the First Amendment, court decisions, and government and military directives that have affected the press during World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the more recent conflicts. He explores the ongoing themes of wartime censorship and propaganda, as well as operational security in the battle zone. In chapters addressing the recent shift in military strategy in dealing with the press, Sweeney discusses new forms of control--from embedding journalists and discouraging unaccredited "unilaterals" to developing the news agenda through a barrage of briefings, sound bites, and visuals and appeals to patriotism that border on domestic propaganda. With profiles of a few specific journalists--from Richard Harding Davis covering the Spanish-American War to Christiane Amanpour reporting from the conflicts in Bosnia and Iraq--this deft blend of journalistic history and analysis should serve as a call-to-arms to a public not always well served by a military-press standoff.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


War Correspondentsbefore World War I
World War I Propaganda andCensorship
Journalists and the Home Front inWorld War II
Reporting and SupportingWorldWar II
Korea and Vietnam
Controlling Access in the1980s and 1990s
PressMilitary Accommodation inthe Twentyfirst Century
The Quest for More Light

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

Michael S. Sweeney is associate professor of print journalism at Utah State University and author of Secrets of Victory (North Carolina, 2001), on censorship in World War II, and From the Front (2002), a narrative history of wartime journalism published by the National Geographic Society. He lives in Logan, Utah.

Bibliographic information