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Excerpted from Projections of Power: Framing News, Public Opinion, and U.S. Foreign Policy by Robert M. Entman Copyright © 2004 by Robert M. Entman. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted September 9, 2004
Robert Entman, Professor of communication and political science at North Carolina State University, has produced a fascinating study of the US media, which is applicable to Britain¿s media too. Their ruling assumption is that the US state is innocent and benign. In Chapter Two, he compares the media handling of two similar events: Korean Air Lines 007, shot down by a Soviet jet in 1983, and Iran Air Flight 655, shot down by a US ship in 1988. The first was judged as a murderous attack, `wanton, brutal and deliberate¿, proof of Soviet moral bankruptcy, portrayed with pictures of the dead and much empathy, outrage and generalisation. The second was seen as a tragic accident, `understandable, mistaken and justified¿, a technical glitch, described in the passive voice, in abstract language, with no pictures, no generalisation and no blame. In Chapter Three, Entman looks at the media treatment of the US attacks on Grenada, Libya and Panama. The media presented coherently only the administration¿s view. Typically, CBS¿s anchor Dan Rather said they were ¿not sure exactly what was happening but knowing the teams. It was the US against Qaddafi¿. Entman concludes, ¿The analysis demonstrates how journalists served as more or less loyal conduits of U.S. government propaganda in wartime.¿ It seems that the first rule of the US state¿s news management is `lie early and lie often¿. In Chapter Four, Entman examines the media¿s `great debate¿ about the war on Iraq, which, it appears, was between those who wanted war at once and those who wanted war later. 71% of the Americans who appeared on camera were pro-war, just 3% against. Entman shows how the state portrays the enemy as a threat, then uses a brief `wave of patriotism¿ to rubbish dissent. The state pretends that it is responding to public opinion, and claims that the media reflect public opinion: both notions support the ruling pretence that the public governs. In Chapter Six, Entman disproves all these myths by showing how the US state, with media assistance, beat back the hugely popular movement for a nuclear freeze.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.