News media and war

I have a suspicion that news media has a set of contradictory and quite antisocial incentive patterns when it comes to war.

Prior to a war, when warmongers push for war the news (or infotainment) media treats their warmongering as most welcome story material; much to report, much to speculate, much to discuss, possibility of using images which attract the audience's eyes and all this is especially welcome during slow news periods.

(Notice how she assumes he gets pressure from constituents
IN FAVOUR of going to war, not assuming the opposite - only days
after a poll showed 75+% opposition to an intervention!?)
Later, when the war actually happens and is still fresh, there's a lot of war porn to show - again easy fodder for fixed time slot and fixed paper page count infotainment media. Stories, graphics, even video become available easily. Worst that could happen to the infotainment media at this point is if the military is serious about its job and doesn't mistake it for a PR stunt, thus doesn't provide easy fodder and opportunities for infotainment.
Later on, other topics regain prominence, and reporters stuck in the war zone resort to emphasising suffering, cruelties et cetera. Civilian casualties (which probably wouldn't have happened if there hadn't been the stupid war) and killed (not so much wounded) troops become centrepieces of their reporting. The result or this and the quite probable frustration with the disappointing course of the war (an ages-old problem with wars - at most one party can win) take a toll. The reporting about war becomes more negative, many reporters begin to sound like doves - at least the one in the theatre of war.
Many infotainment media people (who claim to be news media people) have the perverse incentive to first (help to) push for war, and later on when there's war they tend to push against it. This is -if I'm at least somewhat correct- a systemic deficiency for which we should find a cure better sooner than later. 
  S O
edit 2015: One video is a dead link by now. .

1 comment:

  1. To quote Chris Hedges, “News is filtered into the mix, but actual news is not the predominant concern of the commercial media.”