• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

An eye-opening case study of the news at war, introducing a critical perspective on our mass mediaThe Pen and the Sword is the only comprehensive examination of how the media have covered the 21st Century’s #1 news story: terrorism and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is the full story—from 9/11 to the Obama doctrine, and including:The increasing importance of entertainment media and soft news in shaping our views.

Night Falls: 9/11 and the Afghan War
Night falls: 9/11 and the Afghan war

Our story of America at war in the 21st century begins, as it must, on September 11, 2001. We'll meet the horror of that day head-on, stepping back into the ghastly hours that unleashed the fury of war.

We'll see that, just after the tragedy, there was a moment of debate, but quite quickly this “multilogue” was replaced by an insistent monologue: One voice, one message soon dominated the media conversation that would decide America's future. Its four-part message was classic Manichaeism:

  • Our enemies are deranged and evil. Hatred and war are the only possible responses to them. This mask of the bad guy was affixed to the faces, not just of the al-Qaeda ...
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