- Series: Cultural Studies
- Paperback: 315 pages
- Publisher: Cato Institute; First Edition edition (June 13, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 188257723X
- ISBN-13: 978-1882577231
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 8.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,621,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Captive Press: Foreign Policy Crises and the First Amendment (Cultural Studies) First Edition Edition
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There is a tension underlying press freedoms guaranteed by the First amendment and foreign policies which demand secrecy and lack of public involvement: Carpenter's title contends that national security bureaucracies often operate to manipulate or obstruct the news media, thwarting coverage of military and foreign policy initiatives in the process. These actions threaten an independent press structure, Carpenter maintains: this study tells how. -- Midwest Book Review
From the Back Cover
A major priority of the national security bureaucracy is to manipulate or obstruct the new media, thereby thwarting critical coverage of military and foreign policy initiatives. The government's restrictions on the press during the Persian Gulf War, and the outright exclusion of journalists during the most important stages of the Grenada and Panama invasions, are especially flagrant examples. In The Captive Press, Ted Galen Carpenter argues that such episodes illustrate the inherent tension between the press freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment and a global interventionist foreign policy that places a premium on secrecy, rapid execution, and lack of public dissent. Crude forms of coercion by the national security bureaucracy are not the only source of danger to a vigorous, independent press. An equally serious threat is posed by the government's abuse of the secrecy system to control the flow of information and prevent disclosures that might cast doubt on the wisdom or morality of current policy. Most insidious and corrosive of all is the attempt by officials to entice journalists to be members of the foreign policy team rather than play their proper role as skeptical monitors of government conduct. Carpenter argues that although freedom of the press has not been killed in action during the many international crises of the 20th century, it has been seriously wounded. One of the most essential tasks of the post-Cold War era is to restore it to health.
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Carpenter writes, "Correspondents, editors, pundits and publishers who work for major media outlets also tend to see themselves as members of an opinion-making elite. They consider themselves on an intellectual and social par with high-level policymakers, an attitude that increases the prospect of their being co-opted by ambitious and determined policymakers."
Arthur Sylvester, Asst Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, during the summer of 1965 privately told reporters in Saigon that he was disgusted with their negative dispatches "while American boys are dying out there...I don't even have to talk to you people. I know how to deal with you through your editors and publishers back in the States."
My only major criticism of the book is that it ascribes, in part, government officials' and journalists' disregard of the 1st Amendment to institutional influences in a way that seems to absolve them of guilt, as if, Marxian-style, their jobs determine their ideology. This position is dangerous. It excuses the guilty parties and ignores other possible causal factors. I, for one, can say with absolute certainty that because of my philosophical beliefs I would never--ever--censor journalists for any other reason than to save the lives of the men under my command (if I were in such a position).