Beyond the Front Lines

How The News Media Cover a World Shaped By War
Seib, Philip
Date published: 
May 2006

The recent war with Iraq was the most important conflict for journalism since the Vietnam War, and American journalists rose to the task. However, news coverage of the war - often a series of breathless stories from embedded reporters - is part of a long and deeply flawed effort by American news organizations to provide the coverage that the American people need to understand the realities of the changing world order, and the changing nature of war. Before the next war arrives, how the news media cover war should be wisely scrutinized and questioned. Is the relationship between news organizations and the Pentagon too cosy? Were embedded journalists' reports overused and was context sacrificed in favour of drama? Has Al Jazeera's impact been underestimated, and is the role of the Internet fully understood? Has public diplomacy become mired in clumsy propaganda? Beyond the Front Lines examines all these issues and more, suggesting ways journalists might carry out their job better and defining the role of the news media in a high-tech, globalized and dangerous world.