An analysis of how understanding and support of war is
constructed through media texts – specifically newspapers.
In 1982 I was not old enough to fully understand what was happening when my country went to war with Argentina over a group of islands called The Falklands. However, I was old enough to understand the comments of my parents when they discussed the situation, as well as the headlines they had read in the papers. One such comment being something I have since heard repeated time and time again from various people; this being on the Sun newspapers headlines throughout the conflict. One of these headlines was'GOTCHA', splashed over the front page when thefirst major incident happened – the sinking of the Belgrano on May 2nd 1982 (Greenslade, 2002); an event that cost many Argentine lives.
In this paper I am going to discuss the ways in which newspapers report on war and terrorism, using language such as the Sun's example above, and the impact that they are able to achieve on their readers. I am going to argue that newspapers, along with other media, are a tool for constructing both support and understanding of any conflict, thus being a major propaganda machine, without this ever being fully noted by the mass audience. I will begin by making historic reference to propaganda in the First World War, as discussed by Noam Chomsky, going on to look at more recent conflicts that have seen the use of media propaganda – specifically The Gulf War. I will draw together the information discussed by looking at the most recent examples of press propaganda on the war in Afghanistan, in the aftermath of the World Trade Centre attacks on 11th September 2001.
The Dean of American Journalists, Walter Lippmann is quoted in Chomsky as saying,'…a… "revolution in the art of democracy" could be used to "manufacture consent"', i.e. gain public agreement on'things…