My apologies but I’m having real trouble writing a concise post on the question of the role of the press – as should be reasonably obvious, it’s a huge and complex subject.
So I’m trying to see if I can break it down into some smaller parts that are still reasonably self-contained.
So far, there are three:
# War and morale
# Is opposing war built into the nature of modern media – is the message implicit in the nature of our media?
# Reconciling freedom and the shaping of opinion.
Each one is too damn long – or rather I haven’t had the time to write them well and concisely (or, better to think them through to the point that I can write them well and concisely).
But it’s a fun problem to knock my head against, and I can’t imagine a better reason to be blogging.
Today’s Los Angeles Times (pdf):
“The aim of a nation in war is to subdue the enemy’s will to resist, with the least possible human and economic loss itself . . . our goal in war can only be attained by the subjugation of the opposing will . . . all such acts as defeat in the field, propaganda, blockade, diplomacy, or attack on the centres of government and population are seen to be but means to that end; we are free to weigh the respective merits of each, and to choose whichever is most suitable and most economic, i.e. that which will gain the goal with the minimum disruption of our national life during and after the war…. The destruction of the enemy’s armed forces is but a means–and not necessarily an inevitable or infallible one–to the attainment of the real objective.“
[emphasis mine – A.L.]
I’ll have a longer post on this tonight.