Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Post-Vietnam Media Template

If I could read a network anchor's mind...

The US was defeated in Vietnam.
We should have foreseen American defeat in Vietnam.
We can cover wars differently to prevent another failure of adequate reporting.

Honest war reporting requires every story stress the real, imminent possibility of American defeat.

This defeat will take the form of a voluntary American withdrawal after American morale collapses, in spite of battlefield victories. Our job: not to prevent this collapse but to explain it. Bonus career points for anticipating it.

Collapsing American morale will be the decisive factor. Collapsing enemy morale will only undermine their battlefield performance, and is therefore irrelevant to the outcome in the decisive theater of US public opinion.

US casualties undermine US morale and are therefore relevant. US casualties are ‘significant, ‘heavy’, ‘high’, ‘significantly high’ or ‘significantly heavy’. US casualties are especially tragic because of the real possibility of imminent US defeat.

Enemy casualties only affect their own morale, which again is irrelevant to the final outcome.

Positive political and economic developments within the occupied territory have no effect on US morale. Negative political and economic developments are factors in the decisive collapse of American morale. Memo: Allocate resources accordingly.

Propagandists will try to undermine our efforts to provide accurate reporting of the imminent American defeat. They may go so far as to stress American determination, ingenuity, tenacity, competence, and vigor in two world wars to try and mask the collapsing American morale.
Head them off by using metaphors, man-in-the-street interviews, and opposition politicians. There is no logical rebuttal possible to a metaphor or man-in-the-street interview, and arguing with defeatist politicians is ‘partisanship in a time of war’.

Further, stress the differences in race, ethnicity, religion, culture, ideology, nationality, language, economy, political organization, geography, military tactics, technology, leadership, media relations, Internet access, clothing, cuisine, pop culture, hairstyles, etc., between US opponents in the world wars and the current US target, as well as between the current US public and the US public during the world wars.

This war is different from all previous American wars. All previous American wars were different from previous American wars. But to avoid joining the propagandists, only mention this war and Vietnam.

Fair and balanced wartime reporting has been unavailable during previous US wars, when the media was coerced into biased reporting. All the more necessary that future American defeats be properly covered, from failed diplomatic initiatives to the final embassy evacuation. Memo: have New York keep a chopper on standby for the last flight out.

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