Date of Award


Degree Name



W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Harold C. Shaver

Second Advisor

Ralph J. Turner

Third Advisor

Corley F. Dennison III

Fourth Advisor

Leonard J. Deutsch


The cover of the November-December 1995 issue of Military Review is emblazoned with the quotation, “We don’t win unless CNN says we win.” This testament to the power of the news media in military operations was given by General John Shalikashvili, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and was carried on the cover of this professional journal of the United States Army. The implied message in his statement is that professional military officers need to comprehend the power the news media have in a democratic society and their importance for the success of modem military operations.

War reporting has been the source of great controversy between the military and the media throughout American history. After more than 130 years, the fundamental dispute between the American news media and the American military has changed little (Andrews, 1991). The conflict stems from vast differences in their institutional philosophies. Soldiers and scribes have different purposes, and this inevitably results in animosities, especially in time of war. Press access and military security are inherently at odds (Aukofer and Lawrence, 1995). Clashes are inevitable when the two institutions meet during a conflict. The news media want to tell the story, and the military wants to win the war and keep casualties to a minimum. The news media want freedom, and the military wants control (Aukofer and Lawrence, 1995).

Since the Vietnam War, an institutional distrust of the news media has flourished, even among junior officers who never served in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, this institutional distrust works to the disadvantage of the military because the news media are the military’s most effective means of communicating its story to the public. (Bridgets, 1995).


Military education.

Communications, Military.

Armed Forces and mass media.