Introduction: Military and the Media

From World War II to the present day, the United States government and American journalists have worked with varying degrees of efficiency to disseminate information to the American public during wartime. As time has gone on, however, more clashes and controversy have erupted over censorship with each new conflict. The relationship between the government, the military, and the reporters covering military operations has shifted over time from one of cooperation to one of strain and even outright antagonism. The tension between the right of the people to know the truth of war and the security needs of the soldiers, as well as the tension between the desire to break a good story and the desire to maintain good public relations, have been contributing factors to the attitudes and practices of commanders on the ground, Pentagon officials, the executive branch, and war journalists. Overall, as the lines of war have become increasingly blurred, the cooperation between war journalists and the American government has likewise evaporated.

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