War, Peace and the Media

Zwicker, Barrie
Publisher:  Sources, Toronto, Canada
Year Published:  1985   First Published:  1983
Pages:  48pp   Price:  $4   ISBN:  0-920299-01-6
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX2939

Zwicker argues that press coverage of the USSR is "profoundly uninformative, a journalistic yawn that is helping us sleepwalk toward the biggest slumber of all time: nuclear war."

Abstract:  The author looked at press coverage of the Soviet Union over a six-month period and found it extreme and unbalanced. He concludes that "our portrayal of the Soviet Union dooms ourselves" by creating a stereotype of a country that is the embodiment of everything evil, with which it is impossible to have civilized dealings or to conclude rational agreements, notably on arms control. The result of the press coverage is to push people to the conclusion that the only way to deal with the USSR is to engage in an arms race that can only result in eventual war. He argues that it is in the interest of everyone, East and West, that there be far better, multi-dimensional reporting on the Soviet Union, reporting that deals with the lives of ordinary people, with culture, arts, science, travel, etc. "Implacable opponents of the Soviet Union and warm admirers of the USSR alike should equally be demanding better press coverage of that country. Whether the motive is to know the enemy better, or to build bridges of friendship - or anything between - the coverage provided by the press in Canada falls ludicrously short of short of serving you - Instead of anything approaching an informative, rounded, realistic picture of a country the papers themselves claim is so important, the public is being mistreated to hodge podge of distorting trivia, boring stereotypes, and transparent bias parading as news - There is virtually no human face, but a dehumanized ideological abstraction."

Zwicker feels that press coverage of the USSR is "profoundly uninformative, a journalistic yawn that is helping us sleepwalk toward the biggest slumber of all time: nuclear war."

The pamphlet also takes up a number of specific issues regarding the press coverage of the Soviet Union, including responsibility for the arms race, coverage of civil defence, media blackouts of protests against the MX missile system, and coverage of peace organizations.

Table of Contents:
The Needle is Deep Into the Red Zone
The Myth of Symmetry
Public health research vs the MX
Our Portrayal of the Soviet Union Dooms Ourselves
Preoccupation with Demonology, bone-deep Current of Darkness
The Big Lie of the Arms Race
"Tell me, Daddy, Who's the Baddy?"
The Media and Civil Defence
One Paper's New Attitude Toward Peace
Historic Film Withheld 36 Years
"... and they were doing Cartwheels."
Words and War
Media-MX Deal Denies Protestors' Rights Through News Blackout
Journalism/Arms Race Direct Links
Inside the Mushroom Cloud, Part I, The "Physicas Package"
Inisde the Mushroom Cloud, Part II, The Human Package
The Nucearl Death of a Nuclear Scientists (Dying of Radiation)
Journalism and the bomb
A Crisis of Perception
Peace Organization Contacts Include Scientists, Citizens, Generals
Publications Diverse and Informed
Renewing the Impact: "Extra-Visual" Journalism

Subject Headings

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