Distorting Defense: Network News And National Security

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Distorting Defense: Network News and National Security

Using journalists' own standards as the measure, an exhaustive analysis of nearly 3000 network news reports from the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations reveals that the networks may do more to misinform than inform on a whole range of complex issues related to national defense. This study paints a disturbing picture of the inadequate coverage ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News provide to millions of viewers each night. Aubin concludes that network coverage of defense issues was too often tainted by preconceived attitudes and lapses in journalistic standards.

While as much as twenty-five cents of every dollar went to the defense budget during some of the periods reviewed, the networks hardly covered the key issues surrounding the Reagan defense buildup or the dramatic cuts that followed the end of the Cold War. In addition to their inadequate coverage, the networks also deprived Americans of balanced coverage of the investments made in high-tech weapons that ultimately prevailed in the Gulf War. Though the networks receive good marks for foreign policy coverage, they need to improve the quality of defense reports. This book provides them with the lessons and prescriptions for...

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