Media and the Military "We Do Need to Control Media Access"

As a senior leader in the military, my chances of becoming the target of a media

interview, or having to manage the media, will be exponentially increased due to the ever

increasing conflicts that the United States is involved in.   I as Field Grade Officer, the

lessons taught by the Army Command and General Staff College Intermediate Level Education

Program regarding how to deal with the media in the military will play an integral role in my

duties to effectively lead and win the fight on the battle field over the next 10 years of my


      I will need to understand media management and how it impacts our troops and how it

may impact our success on the battle field.   There are varying opinions whether or not journalists

should be present during combat operations.   Regardless of the opinions on journalistic practices

if these practices are not properly managed it more than likely will result in portraying a negative

image for the United States Armed Forces.   During World War II the media portrayed a picture

of the U.S. Armed Forces as being heroes. The messages sent back home to the public recalling

stories that my mother and father told me were nothing but positive news reels played prior to

watching the featured movie at the local cinema.   Magazines such as Life put pictures of the

biggest and strongest men on the cover to send an image not only to the civilian population but to

our enemy that the U.S. military was a force to be reckoned with.   This did not happen by

accident.   The leaders at the time were very much in tune with how the media should be dealt

with without outright censorship.

      “General William Sherman announced:   I hate newspapermen.   They come into camp and

      pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth,

      they are. If I killed them all, there would be news from Hell before breakfast.”

      (Lacey 2004)