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War Coverage and Wartime Mass Media

Warfare and media exist in a discursive relationship: War influences both news and entertainment media, while the media likewise influence the course of any given war. Hollywood filmmakers and the burgeoning radio news industry had a crucial role in shaping public opinion in the United States during World War II. In contemporary geopolitical conflicts, the Internet and social media play a key role. Social media sites such as YouTube offer a new frame for combat footage—footage captured by the soldiers themselves can be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection.

Combat footage obtained and posted online by WikiLeaks shocked the civilian public in similar ways to footage broadcast on television during the Vietnam War. This entry discusses changes in how mass media cover wars and in ...

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