Media Manipulation

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Part.1:Mass Media in Times of War
Part.2: Other Cases of Media Manipulation
Part.3:The Role of the Internet

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Mass media have a powerful influence on public life and have frequently been called a "fourth authority of the state" along with the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the government. The basic principle of separation of powers is mutual control - the media have often readily accepted being misused as a means of propaganda, however.
While for a long time the media were the mouthpiece of political parties or social groups, transmitting their - frequently ideological - viewpoints, media companies are nowadays major economic players, seeking to pursue their specific interests. It is thus hardly possible to decide whether false reports are spread accidentally due to a lack of thorough, accurate investigation, or whether the media intentionally publish pieces of false information in order to achieve a self-interested objective.
Research on media manipulation has been subdivided into three sections, the first investigating mass media in times of war, the second dealing with false reports that are not related to wars, and the third revealing the role of the Internet in general. 
Part.1:Mass Media in Times of War
"In war-time, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies." 
Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister 1940-45, 1951-55
It is not surprising that media are particularly amenable to manipulation in times of war. However, it is hardly possible to decide whether false reports are intentionally spread by belligerent governments seeking to misuse the media for propaganda purposes, or whether it is the media themselves, who - in a patriotic attempt to support their governments and provide their consumers with sensational news at the same time - readily accept publishing unverified material. Most probably, there is a certain degree of responsibility for false reports in war-time on both sides: governments and the media!
Examples for media manipulation and false reports can be found in all the recent wars the US was involved in. I have chosen two examples from the Gulf War and the Kosovo War respectively.
Gulf War - The Incubator Baby Incident
PR agency Hill & Knowlton in 1990 launched a recording of Nayirah, a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, which later turned out to be a daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US. The girl recounted that she had watched Iraqi soldiers remove babies from their incubators in a Kuwaiti hospital after the occupation of Kuwait, letting the babies die on the cold hospital floor. The account was broadcast on all major TV stations and referred to by American politicians supporting the resolution to give President Bush power to use American forces in Kuwait. After the Gulf War, no witnesses could be found to verify

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