School of Media and Communication

Phil Taylor's papers


Improving Media Relations by J K Lovejoy

Improving Media Relations
by Lieutenant Colonel James Kevin Lovejoy, U.S. Army

Military Review, Jan-Feb 2002

Junior military personnel do not have faith and confidence in their leaders. First Lieutenant Kelly Flinn is court-martialed for adultery. The military's homosexuality policy denies people the right to serve honorably in the military. Drill instructors sexually assault recruits in basic training at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Major General (MG) David R. Hale's retirement and Sergeant Major of the Army Gene McKinney's court-martial reveal a double standard between officer and enlisted misconduct. Senior military officials fail to accurately advise Congress on the overall state of readiness in the military.

The military has had its fair share of time in the media spotlight in recent years, some of it good, some of it bad. There are two types of bad news. The military or someone in the military did a bad thing; even worse, news is reported out of context and fails to give a complete account of the truth. There is little the military can do to prevent bad news. When the military or someone in the military does a bad thing, the American people have a right to know. It is the media's duty to report on the military, and the military should not stand in the way. But there is something that can be done to prevent news from being reported out of context.

Unfortunately, the military traditionally tries to set the record straight after the fact. This is much like trying to stuff the genie back in the bottle - it just cannot be done. Once bad news hits the front page, no matter how hard the military tries, its corrective efforts never seem to make it beyond page seven or eight. Fortunately, however, the armed services appear to be learning from past experiences. They have discovered that the traditional "right to remain silent" approach to the media does not work. Out of this historically stoic stance, the need, in fact the urgency, to tell the military's story to the general public is clear. There are essentially two ways to tell the military's story: indirectly, through the media; and directly to the public via press conferences, press releases, and public appearances.

Understanding the Media Interest

If the military is to engage the media, it must first understand the media's broad general interests but, more important, their specific interest in a particular event. This should be treated no differently from any other military operation that we study to understand the opposition through intelligence gathering. If the Army spent a fraction of its time and resources understanding the media, it would be much better prepared for engagement. Essential to understanding the media is not so much what they cover as why. To the extent the military understands why the media covers a particular story, it will be better prepared to ensure the story is put in the proper context the first time.

Flinn's court-martial provides a perfect example of how the military fails to recognize the media's interest in a story and, therefore, fails to take the steps necessary to ensure the media and general public understand the full story the first time. News of Flinn's situation in remote Minot, North Dakota, drew the national media's attention during spring 1997.1 The media initially portrayed her as a victim of a brutal military justice system that was prosecuting her for the heinous crime of adultery. The U.S. Air Force initially downplayed the incident and declined to engage the media. It was not until months later that Air Force Chief of Staff General Ronald R. Fogleman finally explained to congressional representatives that the crux of the case against Flinn was not adultery. She had disobeyed a lawful order and lied to a superior officer. Only then did the media and the general public begin to understand the true nature of the case and a little something about military culture and discipline. Unfortunately, Fogleman's response was too little, too late, and the Air Force's reputation took a significant hit, not to mention that Flinn was able to leave the service under far more favorable terms than was otherwise expected.

Press coverage of the military's gender-integrated training and homosexual policies provides additional examples of the media's misperception of the military and its role in a democratic society. The media's stance on both issues usually arises from its viewing the military as a social experiment in which all members are supposedly treated alike and receive equal opportunities.2

Media coverage emphasizes that current policy on these two issues denies many young men and women the opportunity to serve their country. While this is certainly one perspective, it is not the only one, nor is it the most relevant military perspective. Do not focus on how the military's policies on homosexuality and gender-integrated training impact the military as a social experiment. Rather, focus on how these policies affect military readiness, which policies best support fighting and winning the nation's wars, and which policies best protect and preserve national interests. By shaping and framing the issue, the military will appear more favorable and relevant to the general public. To do so, however, the military must be willing to engage the media.

Engagement Strategies

Can the military combat the media's reluctance to acknowledge, understand, or appreciate the military's perspective on a news event? If the story involves an intentionally negative story, the military's only recourse is to react after the story becomes public. But the response should be swift and aggressive, such as the action taken by former Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps General Charles C. Krulak when the Marines received bad press concerning the blood wings incident. Krulak wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times espousing the Marine Corps' position on the matter. The letter was printed in the next edition. While a bit unorthodox, Krulak's prompt, direct response to the public garnered much praise from the media and the public, who were now better informed on the issue. Krulak's prompt response to an incomplete media story demonstrates that the military need not sit back and be pummeled by public opinion. Military commanders at all levels should consider using this tactic to respond to erroneous military-related stories.

General Krulak speaking with military and civilian media on Okinawa.

Far more frequent, yet often as damaging, are the unintentionally negative stories. These are usually the result of media ignorance, disinterest, or simple laziness. The explosion of media outlets and inexperienced journalists are major causes of negligent reporting. Mushrooming media competition has spawned lower professionalism among reporters and news people. Unlike the medical and legal professions, there are no professional credentials in the media industry - anyone can pick up a pen, a keyboard, or a camera and become a reporter. There are no tests, standards, or licensing requirements.3 The Internet also presents expanding opportunities for novice media personnel to reach mass audiences.

Accompanying the explosion of media personnel is minimal military experience or knowledge among news reporters. Very few media organizations still dedicate reporters to the military beat. We are experiencing the advent of parachute journalism - the practice of dropping into a trouble spot whoever happens to be in the newsroom with directions to provide an immediate story regardless of his or her background or experience.4 The advent of sound-bite journalism, 30-second news stories, and two-column newspaper stories also contributes to the lack of context and background of news reporting. All these factors lead to the inevitable conclusion that the military must do all it can to engage, educate, and ultimately influence the media to ensure the media reports the story in proper context.

Military-Media Education

Recognizing the military's limited ability to educate the media, military professionals must first educate themselves to understand their own strengths and weaknesses before facing the enemy. The military's more apparent weaknesses include its members' negative attitude toward the media; risk aversion resulting from a zero-defects mentality; and a significant lack of media engagement doctrine, planning, training, and resources. The military's strengths include high-quality personnel, its existing public affairs, public interest, and most important, public respect.5

Combating media hostility.

The military's first educational objective should be to reverse the hostile attitude many military members have toward the media.6 Military personnel must understand and accept the media's role. The media will continue to write stories about the military regardless of how deep it tries to bury its head in the sand.

Risk aversion and zero defects - "Three things can happen when you pass the football, and two of them are bad."7 Senior Army leaders have not been as willing as Krulak to engage the media. Their reluctance appears to be a byproduct of the zero-defects mentality plaguing today's Army. Real or imagined, this perception exists among the Army's ranks and seriously inhibits initiative and risk-taking. Engaging the media no doubt involves both risk and initiative. Former 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division Commander Colonel Gregory Fontenot's experience on the eve of his deployment to Bosnia clearly bears this out. In Bosnia, the Army reverted to its traditional practice of embedded reporters assigned to a particular unit for certain periods of time. The Army hoped that by spending time with one unit, a reporter would get to know the troops and understand the mission, thereby enabling him or her to add context to a story. Reporters were given full access to troops within their assigned units and were permitted to report anything they heard unless told it was off the record.8

Shortly before deploying to Bosnia, reporter Tom Ricks of the Wall Street Journal wrote a story on a meeting he attended in which Fontenot expressed his doubt that U.S. troops would stay only 12 months, as President William J. Clinton stated, and warned some of his African-American troops to be careful around Croats, whom Fontenot described as "racists."9 Within hours after being reported, Fontenot received heavy criticism from senior Clinton administration officials and ultimately received a letter of reprimand. Fontenot took a risk. He engaged the press and, in the eyes of many, lost.10

Fontenot is not the only military officer whose career was adversely affected by media engagement. Air Force MG Harold Campbell characterized Clinton as a "dope-smoking, skirt-chasing, draft-dodging" commander in chief, and Admiral Richard Macke commented that the sailors who raped an Okinawan girl should have sought sex from a prostitute instead - both ended up resigning their commissions within days of their public gaffes.11 These and other unreported experiences have undoubtedly had a chilling effect on the willingness of military personnel to engage the media candidly. Until the zero-defects mentality disappears, any efforts to encourage U.S. Army soldiers to engage the media will be severely constrained.

Change starts at the top. This new attitude must start at the senior-leader level. Senior military leaders must not only engage the media themselves but should also encourage their subordinates to do so. The Marine Corps probably does this better than its sister services. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the Marine Corps had the reputation of being the most candid service.12 It also agreed to engage the cast and crew of 60 Minutes to discuss the Aviano, Italy, cable car incident. The Marine Corps realized the best thing to do was to minimize damage. Nevertheless, knowing 60 Minutes was going to produce the story with or without its involvement, the Marine Corps chose to engage the media on a controversial story. By accepting a likely tactical loss, the Marine Corps gained the strategic advantage of doing what was within its power to make the story as accurate and as relevant as possible.

Senior Air Force leaders have also taken the initiative on media engagement by developing an Executive Issues Team, Secretary of the Air Force, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC. The team, composed of several functional experts, enhances the Air Force's image by anticipating issues and events that may spark public, media, or political interest. The team identifies significant issues and events, develops timely and forthright messages for senior leaders, recommends necessary and appropriate communication strategies, prepares specific spokespersons to deliver an Air Force message effectively, and outlines recurring Air Force theme messages.

Training and resources. While attitude adjustment must start at the top, it must work its way down the chain of command to individual leaders and soldiers. These are the military personnel the media want to talk to, not the local public affairs officer. The best stories are those that come straight from the source - the commander, soldier, sailor, airman, or marine on the ground. The military can adjust attitudes best through compulsory media training for all its members.

The Marine Corps' media training program starts with second lieutenants and continues throughout their military careers. The training includes small-group discussions with real reporters, mock interviews, press conferences, and other media events.13 Peacetime training is the linchpin to real world success.

The Army and Air Force have taken steps to revise their public affairs doctrine and training initiatives. U.S. Army Field Manual (FM) 46-1, Public Affairs Operations, and FM 100-23, Peace Operations, both devote considerable attention to the importance of media awareness during stability and support operations (SASO). FM 46-1 reinforces the principle of allowing media access to all units, subject to force protection and personal privacy needs. FM 100-23 acknowledges that "every soldier is a spokesperson." The manual also encourages commanders to be more proactive in helping news media representatives understand the Army's role in peace operations and to produce stories that foster the public's confidence.14

The Army is also developing media awareness training resources. Both the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), Fort Polk, Louisiana, and the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC), Hohenfels, Germany, now train soldiers to react to reporters and to conduct press conferences. Training is tailored to the specific mission of the rotating unit; however, the new JRTC and CMTC training programs are not enough. The Army must expand these programs by including media awareness training during advanced individual training, basic and advanced noncommissioned officer courses and officer courses.

Media interest in military justice. The media's frenzied interest in the courts-martial of Hale, Flinn, and McKinney prompted military judge advocates to devote much time and thought to the military justice-media relationship. In 1999, the Army Judge Advocate General's School hosted a joint services symposium to train senior judge advocates to better manage the complex issues that arise when the media cover a court-martial.15 Attendees received instruction on the Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act, and the rules of professional conduct for attorneys. Attendees developed a media plan for high-profile courts-martial that addressed appropriate themes for educating the media on military justice procedures, identifying spokespersons, and handling media overflow. The Army and Air Force together published detailed judge advocate and public affairs media planning annexes and sample question-and-answer documents addressing issues that media representatives covering high-profile courts-martial frequently ask.

Unlawful Command Influence and Media Engagement

The fact that commanders, not attorneys, control our military justice system creates unique challenges for media relations during a court-martial. The primary concern is unlawful command influence - military justice's mortal enemy. Laws prohibiting unlawful command influence require senior commanders to guard against both the reality and perception of influencing the decisions and conduct of subordinate commanders, witnesses, judges, or court members during a court-martial. Inappropriate remarks by members of the chain of command may jeopardize a successful prosecution. Consequently, judge advocates often advise senior commanders - the very people the media want to hear from - not to comment on a pending case. The Air Force's silence during the early stages of Flinn's court-martial and, to a certain extent, the Navy's silence about the Tailhook convention in 1991 were due, in part, to concerns about command influence.16

While silence may preempt allegations of unlawful command influence at trial, it may also abrogate a commander's responsibility to provide effective leadership at a time it is often most needed. Commanders and their judge advocates must be wary of unlawful command influence, but they should not lose sight of a bigger issue - their services' reputation. While the Air Force and Navy may have avoided unlawful command influence by not publicly discussing incidents when first reported, their services' public image suffered. The Air Force and Navy also missed two major educational opportunities through their approach to these cases: first, educating commanders to make public comments without exercising unlawful command influence, and second, educating the public about why discipline, integrity, and esprit de corps are so vital to the military.

Other training and educational resources. The military need not devote excessive resources to impact military-media relations. Two relatively inexpensive means of improving media understanding are dedicated subject matter experts and background papers. In several courts-martial, the military used designated military subject matter experts to assist the media. A judge advocate not involved in the case worked with media representatives to help them understand how the military justice system works and how it differs from the civilian criminal justice system. He also answered questions during the trial. Similar experts could be used for other military news events. For example, engineer officers can provide background on environmental stories, or armor officers can provide background on tank modernization plans.

The services can also provide fact sheets or information papers to the media as background on particular issues. This is common practice among Army and Air Force judge advocates and public affairs officers. Also useful are brief explanations of why the military's uniqueness warrants different judicial procedures and standards. While information sheets are not feasible for every news story, there are countless other military news events that occur frequently enough to justify the effort. For example, a paper explaining the military procurement system for new weapon systems or using existing country or regional background briefs can be useful to reporters covering overseas deployments.

Media planning. During the 1983 Grenada invasion, the Reagan administration, perhaps still suspicious of the media after Vietnam, severely limited media access to the battlefield. U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Joseph Metcalf suggested that the media's perceived tendency to portray casualties and mission difficulties to generate criticism at home might lead field commanders to think more about public relations than about military operations.17 Another Vietnam-era veteran, retired MG John E. Murray, observed, "engaging the press while engaging the enemy is taking on one adversary too many."18

Members of the 82d Airborne Division search a building during the invasion of Grenada.

Fortunately, the military services have learned the fallacy of avoiding the media and recognize the need for commanders to consider the media's impact on an operation. This discovery coincides with a 1984 study that recommends that public affairs planning be integrated into operational planning.19 The services have finally acknowledged that the media will continue to cover, and sometimes influence, military operations. There should be little doubt that the media can influence military operations or at least the political leadership's decisions regarding military operations. The image of thousands of starving Somali clearly influenced the military's initial decision to deploy to Somalia. Likewise, the image on national television of Somali dragging American soldiers' dead bodies influenced the United States to end that deployment.

Concerns about adverse public reaction to American casualties in the Balkans also significantly affected U.S. force protection posture in that region. Finally, it is difficult to believe that the same concern over seeing casualties on the 6 o'clock news did not affect NATO's decision to use air power in lieu of ground troops in Kosovo. General Colin Powell best sums up the reality of media influence on military operations: "Will the public and press reaction most likely be positive?"20

If media consideration has matured into a principle of war, the military would be foolish to disregard such issues during planning.21 To do otherwise dooms the military to its traditional position of reacting to the media rather than trying to influence it. Fortunately, we are beginning to put thought into action. Before the U.S. Army 1st Armored Division deployed to Bosnia, MG William Nash planned how he would use the media strategically. His plan included three objectives: to gain and maintain the American public's support, to influence the warring factions to comply with the Dayton Accords, and to make the soldiers feel good about their work.22 To facilitate more consistent media operational planning, public affairs officers should be assigned to planning staffs to provide additional media insights beyond those of the traditional warfighters involved in the planning process.

While we must acknowledge the media's potential influence, the military must nevertheless guard against letting excessive concern over public reaction and media coverage of an event drive the train. If committing troops to a troubled region is in the United States' best interests but counter to public opinion or if a commander's decision to court-martial a soldier is necessary for good order and discipline but certain to draw public criticism, the Army cannot let such concerns stand in the way of doing what is right and necessary. The services must strike a balance between the past practice of ignoring the media and the growing tendency to be consumed by it.

Distinction between media reaction and public opinion. There is an important distinction between media reaction and public opinion. Concern over public opinion is legitimate because the services are responsible to the American people; however, concern over media reaction is questionable. The services like to think that what the press thinks does not matter. Perhaps this thinking stems from a reluctance to acknowledge the media's power to shape public opinion. Few want to confer such power and influence to the media. We want to believe that the public forms its opinion from facts. Sadly, that is not the case.

This does not mean we have to surrender public opinion to the influence of the press. The military can influence the general public through direct and indirect channels. The indirect channel is through efforts to influence how the media reports a story to the public. This is a difficult but worthwhile process. The direct route is to go straight to the public, bypassing reporters. The Department of Defense did this quite successfully during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Secretary of Defense Richard B. Cheney, General Norman Schwarzkopf, and Powell held regular press conferences. Even President George H. Bush stood before the American people to ask for their support for his decision to deploy troops to the Gulf.23 Cheney later explained: "I felt it was important to manage the information flow - not to distort it, but to make certain that we got a lot of information out there so that people knew what we were doing [and] why we were doing it. . . . I did not have a lot of confidence that I could leave that to the press."24 Fortunately, the military has smart people to execute this mission and an extensive public affairs organization that provides the framework for a coordinated effort.

The Cost of Status Quo

The services might jeopardize their own operations security if they do nothing to educate and engage the media. The services do not distrust the media's ability to keep secrets but, rather, fear the media might inadvertently disclose sensitive information.25 The risk of unintentional disclosure increases when inexperienced reporters cover the military and military operations. The media's thirst for exclusive stories exacerbates the problem. Pursuing such stories tempts some reporters to intentionally disclose sensitive or classified information. The military cannot ignore the fact that the media has no counterpart to the military ethos of duty, honor, country; nor does it share the commander's ultimate responsibility for life and death. Consequently, the lives of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines may depend on teaching the media about operations security.

More difficult to specify are the stakes in a peacetime garrison environment. Military life demands strict discipline, absolute integrity, esprit de corps, selfless service, a formal rank structure, and physical and moral courage. The value of these is readily apparent during war; however, during peacetime, people outside the military often criticize these same attributes. The same media members who agree that different rules, principles, and expectations apply during combat are the first to question them during peacetime. Apparently, the media and the public think the services should do things differently during combat than during peacetime. The problem is a failure to understand the age-old maxim that warriors must train and live as they will fight. War has been described as hell. It is not an endeavor a nation enters into casually. It requires individuals who can live up to the principles described earlier. Unfortunately, most of these principles and values are not natural attributes. They are skills and beliefs that require inculcation through intense training. They cannot be turned on and off or bought on the Internet. This is why fighting men and women must train and live by them during peacetime - because they will fight by them during war.

Essentially, the stake in peacetime is readiness to fight and win the nation's wars or to protect its interests in operations short of war. Consequently, the military must educate the media about what readiness requires forces to do and why. Until the media understands why the military requires certain standards and behavior, they will continue to write stories that misinterpret, misconstrue, or miss the point entirely. The education process can be as simple as long discussions in a tent with a reporter, one-page fact sheets on the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or information papers explaining the military ethos. It could be something more sophisticated like television commercials or radio spots.26 Be it simple or sophisticated, the services must attempt to explain military culture to the media and the public.

The Changing Media and Military Missions

The future poses additional challenges for military-media relations. Cell phones, the Internet, satellite communications, and other technologies provide multiple means for reporters to deliver stories from remote locations without military review. The media's self-sufficient reporting capabilities, coupled with the sharp increase in media inexperience with military operations, could be a recipe for disaster. More media sources mean greater competition for an exclusive story. Consequently, inexperienced reporters with immediate, direct access to the public are pressured to provide immediate, real-time news with little opportunity to reflect on its potential impact on national interest.27 Finally, the reality of 24-hour news reporting enables media organizations to transmit information early enough to influence the military-diplomatic decisionmaking process.28 Consequently, the military must guard against letting the media influence this process.

The evolution of military operations also presents challenges for future media relations. Unlike historical high-intensity conflicts on a linear battlefield, the military no longer enjoys a near-monopoly of the battlefield and real-time information.29 The relatively low intensity of many current conflicts poses little risk to media personnel traveling to and around an area of operations using commercial transportation. The military does not control the U.S. sector in Kosovo the way it did Normandy Beachhead. Consequently, the media no longer depends exclusively on the military for access or information in places like East Timor or Somalia.

Reporter Steve Harrigan using a video phone to file a story from Afghanistan. Although video phones produce jerky, highly pixilated images, they can be easily operated by one person.

Complicating the situation is the political controversy over U.S. involvement in many of these conflicts. Initial media interest focuses on whether the United States or its armed services should be involved. Therefore, the first media engagement in SASO must address the propriety or legitimacy of military involvement, and military and political leaders must be prepared to explain the decision to use military forces.

An even greater media challenge in SASO is how they measure success. There is rarely an army to defeat or territory to recapture. Success is rarely a battle won or lost but an imprecise diplomatic, military, economic end state. Compared to traditional warfare, these amorphous measures of success are much more susceptible to media interpretation, so much so that some have described the media itself as a center of gravity.30 To conduct successful SASO, the services must win over the media. This includes the international media. Perhaps of greatest importance is the local media because they tell the story to the local public.

Characterizing the media as a center of gravity in SASO is most troubling because they are supplied not by fuel and ammunition but by controversy and disruption.31 Tragedy and conflict make headlines, not the routine and mundane. Unfortunately, the SASO objective is achieving stability and returning to normalcy - the very essence of everything the media abhors.32 It will take a massive educational effort to convince the media to shift its SASO focus from conflict and strife to restoring or maintaining the status quo. It will take an equally massive effort to train the military how to engage the media in this war to influence public opinion in SASO.

The media are unlikely to change their military coverage unless convinced to do otherwise. It is up to the military to initiate this transformation, but until the military understands its own media-related strengths and weaknesses, any efforts to convince the media to change their military approach are doomed to fail. Rather than continue to criticize and blame the media, the military must first get its house in order. Only then can the long process of engaging and educating the media begin. MR


1.No doubt the fact that the Flinn family hired a public affairs professional to promote the story helped this story achieve national notoriety. Nancy Ethiel, ed., The Military and the Media: Facing the Future, the Cantigny Conference Series (Robert R. McCormick Foundation, 1998), 56.

2.Frank Aukofer and William P. Lawrence, The Odd Couple (Freedom Forum First Amendment Center, 1995), 5.

3.Charles C. Moskos and Thomas Ricks, Reporting War When There Is No War: The Media and the Military in Peace and Humanitarian Operations, Cantigny Conference Series Special Report (Robert R. McCormick Foundation, 1996), 44.

4.Jacqueline Sharkey, "When Pictures Drive Foreign Policy," American Journalism Review (December 1993).

5.Public opinion surveys consistently reveal that the military is the most highly respected institution in America. See The American Enterprise (July/August 1999), 90. The press, on the other hand, routinely ranks near the bottom on the same polls.

6.Aukofer and Lawrence, 146, quoting Colonel Frederick C. Peck, Deputy Director of Public Affairs, U.S. Marine Corps.

7.Quote from Woody Hayes, former head football coach at Ohio State University. Hayes' Buckeye teams were famous for their reluctance to throw a forward pass, choosing instead to rely on the less risky strategy of "three yards and a cloud of dust."


9.Moskos and Ricks, 24.

10.As a direct result of Fontenot's experience, the media rules in Bosnia changed so that nothing could be quoted in the media unless the reporter asked permission from the person speaking. This became known as the "Ricks Rule." Aukofer and Lawrence.

11.Moskos and Ricks, 33.

12.Aukofer and Lawrence, 100, quoting veteran reporter Peter Braestrup: "There were some negative stories written about the Marines before the ground war, but [General] Boomer had enough confidence in his troops, and in himself, and everybody else, to shrug off negative stories."

13.Ibid., 146-47.

14.U.S. Army Field Manual (FM) 46-1, Public Affairs Operations (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office [GPO], 30 May 1997); FM 100-23, Peace Operations (Washington, DC: GPO, December 1994), 48.

15.The inaugural Joint Service High-Profile Case Management Course was conducted in May 1999. More than 75 senior judge advocates from all services and the Department of Defense attended.

16.Ethiel, 18.

17.Peter Braestrup, Battle Lines: Report of the Task Force on the Military and the Media, a Twentieth Century Fund Report (Washington, DC: Priority Press Publications, May 1985) 133.


19.Ibid., 123-25. On 4 November 1983, following complaints that the military deliberately excluded the media from covering the first 48 hours of the 1983 Grenada invasion, General John W. Vessey appointed retired Major General Winant Sidle to head the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Panel on Military-Media Relations. Sidel, six other military officers, and seven former reporters or news executives comprised the panel. Based on interviews with 19 media personnel and 3 public affairs representatives, the commission filed a report with several recommendations to improve military-media relations.

20.Lieutenant Colonel Marc D. Felman, U.S. Air Force, "The Military/Media Clash and the New Principle of War: Media Spin" (thesis, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: Air University Press, June 1993), 16.

21.Ibid., 1. U.S. Air Force Manual 1-1, Basic Aerospace Doctrine of the United States Air Force, vol. 2 (Washington, DC: GPO, March 1992), 10-13. Air Force doctrine states there are nine principles of war a commander must consider: objective, offensive, mass, economy of force, maneuver, unity of command, security, surprise, and simplicity. The author defines a principle of war as "an essential consideration that interacts with many time-tested truths a prudent commander must consider before conducting combat operations."

22.Ethiel, 82-83.

23.Felman, 22.

24.Aukofer and Lawrence, 13.

25.Ibid., 25.

26.Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen began to pursue such efforts by traveling to Hollywood to solicit support for military recruiting. Ironically, the media headlines, rather than focus on Cohen's attempt to improve recruiting and retention, highlighted the controversy surrounding his stay in a $2500-a-night hotel.

27.Braestrup, 138.

28.Ibid., 46.

29.Moskos and Ricks, 45.

30.Ibid., 44-45.

31.Although animosity has always existed toward the media, we have never approached it in the traditional manner in which we approach the Soviet Union or Iraq, in the sense of developing training, doctrine, and strategy.

32.Ibid., 45.


Lieutenant Colonel James Kevin Lovejoy, U.S. Army, is the Staff Judge Advocate, Fort Rucker, Alabama. He received a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, a J.D. from the Catholic University of America, and L.L.M. degrees from the Judge Advocate General's School and the University of San Diego School of Law. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He has served in various staff positions in the Continental United States and Germany, including chair, Criminal Law Department, Judge Advocate General's School, Charlottesville, Virginia; professor, Criminal Law Department, Judge Advocate General's School; deputy staff judge advocate, 3d Infantry Division, Würzburg, Germany; and chief, Criminal Operational Law, 3d Infantry Division, Würzburg.

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