War and Media Operations

by Thomas Rid on 28 January 2009

Rid, T. War and Media Operations. The US Military and the Press from Vietnam to Iraq London: Routledge (2009) 229p

In late summer 2002 the Pentagon considered giving the press an inside view of the upcoming invasion of Iraq. The decision that followed seemed to contradict earlier more restrictive policies, and the innovative “embedded media program” itself received intense coverage in the media. Many observers denounced the program as a new and sophisticated form of propaganda. The critics implicit assumption was that the Pentagon had become better at its news management and that the American military had learned to co-opt the media. War and Media Operations tests this assumption. It introduces a model of organizational learning and military innovation, redraws the US military’s cumbersome learning curve in public affairs from Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, and the Balkans to Afghanistan, and finally examines whether the lessons of the past were implemented during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. (paper)

“War and Media Operations is must-reading for anyone who wants to understand how modern wars are sold to public opinion.”
Jamie Shea, Director of Policy Planning at NATO, alliance spokesman during the Kosovo War

“Those who support or oppose ‘embedded’ journalism will find ammunition here but Rid himself doesn’t take shots.”
Steven Komarow, USA TODAY, embedded with the US Army’s V Corps during the Iraq War

“thought-provoking, insightful, and deeply engaging”
Ikujiro Nonaka, Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, author of The Knowledge Creating Company

“The best analysis I have yet seen of the role of Public Affairs within the wider context of Information Operations.”
Philip Taylor, University of Leeds, UK, author of Munitions of the Mind: A History of Propaganda

Reviews

Naveen Sharma, Pointer, 2011, vol 36, no 3-4, p. 74-75 (.pdf)

Politique étrangère, 2007, no. 3, p.674-675

British Journalism Review, vol. 18, no. 3, 2007, p.89-91

Steve Tatham, The War and Media Network, April 2008

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