March 20, 2003

Chris Hedges on War Reporting

Robin Sloan of the Poynter Institute interviewed reporter Chris Hedges, winner of the 2001 Pulitzer for international reporting, on war and the press.

He talks about the inexperience of most of the reporters covering this war, how the press tends to report the war as a "mythic narrative" that creates heroes, which, in turn, boosts ratings and sells newspapers.

"In wartime, we need the hero, we need the evil enemy, we need the hometown boy, we need the story of pathos. We fill the slots on the stage to fit the myth. And that's part of the danger, I think.

"We have seen -- I think Vietnam was a good example of, you know, eventually it was impossible for the press to report on Vietnam as a mythic narrative. They reported on it in a sensory way. Once that veil of myth is pulled aside, and people see war -- especially modern war -- for what it is, which is organized, very impersonal industrial slaughter, it becomes pretty unpalatable."

Hedges also makes an interesting observation about how the state "hijacks the language" in time of war and "and the press parrots it back to us." (Google "Countdown to Iraq," for example, one of the phrases Hedges mentions.)

 Poynter Institute Chris Hedges on War and the Press

Posted by Tim Porter at March 20, 2003 07:50 AM

Good story by Chris Hedges. Sent it around.

Posted by: d rabin on March 20, 2003 11:49 AM

I was wondering if you knew who the first name pulled for the Viet Nam draft?

Posted by: Beth on January 5, 2004 07:42 PM
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