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War and Television (Haymarket) [Paperback]

Bruce Cumings
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

15 July 1994 Haymarket
This work studies television reporting of the US at war since World War II, including detailed coverage of television's role in the Gulf. Cumings offers insights into the everyday operations of the media and assesses the possibilities of mobilizing them for political purposes. At the centre of this volume is the tale of Cumings' own experience as expert consultant to a Thames Television production - "Korea: The Unknown War". The book also features film reviews, anecdotes and several invectives against an array of media executives, retired soldiers and bureaucrats.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books; New edition edition (15 July 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0860916820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0860916826
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,298,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Bruce Cummings has produced penetrating studies of US strategy and planning, along with the standard works of the Korean War. His unique combination of understanding scholarship and personal experience lends unusual significance to his reflections on the media portrayal of war." - Noam Chomsky "An eloquent critique, from a politically progressive perspective, not only of TV's coverage of war but also its treatment of topical and historical events ... Cummings shows strikingly how a type of consensus evolves about America's role in wars. ...[He] argues convincingly that the purported 'objectivity' of the camera is an illusion, and that TV is a medium that makes points and takes sides despite its supposed impartial coverage of news events. A provocative and intelligent analysis." - Kirkus Reviews "Cummings' writing is lively, clearly and engaging... this book should be of value to scholars, students, and anyone who needs to understand how to an unpopular message into the media." - Third World Resources

About the Author

Bruce Cumings is Professor of East Asian and International History at the University of Chicago. He is author of The Origins of the Korean War and The Unknown War (with Jon Halliday).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating study of the media portrayal of war, in particular, of the Korean War. Bruce Cumings is Professor of East Asian and International History at the University of Chicago and author of the best book on the Korean War, the two-volume Origins of the Korean War.

He argues that the supposed `objectivity' of the camera is a myth, and that television is a medium that necessarily makes points and takes sides, whatever its claims to impartial coverage of news events.

Cumings tells the story of the production of the Thames Television/Public Broadcasting System series, Korea: the unknown war, for which he was the main historical consultant.

He notes, "Then there was John Burton, mild-mannered professor of Political Science at George Mason University, who had been the very young head of the Australian Foreign Office in 1950. He told us of telegrams coming from South Korea to the Foreign Office just before the war broke out, reporting South Korea patrols crossing the border, trying to provoke the North Koreans. Dr Burton took these straight to the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister, `and we sent a very strongly worded telegram to the State Department', asking them to curb South Korea adventurism. Before a reply came back from Washington, the war began. ... Thereafter the telegrams, according to Dr Burton, disappeared from Australian Foreign Office files."

Cumings confirms, "in the British Foreign Office records, ... you'll find a cable, nicely preserved, saying that the Americans were trying to restrain hot-headed South Korea officers along the parallel, a few weeks before June 25."

The South sought to invade the North. Cumings points out that "the southern army had sought to occupy it [Haeju] more than a year earlier [i.e.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating study of the media's portrayal of war, especailly the Korean War 14 Aug 2012
By William Podmore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a fascinating study of the media portrayal of war, in particular, of the Korean War. Bruce Cumings is Professor of East Asian and International History at the University of Chicago and author of the best book on the Korean War, the two-volume Origins of the Korean War.

He argues that the supposed `objectivity' of the camera is a myth, and that television is a medium that necessarily makes points and takes sides, whatever its claims to impartial coverage of news events.

Cumings tells the story of the production of the Thames Television/Public Broadcasting System series, Korea: the unknown war, for which he was the main historical consultant.

He notes, "Then there was John Burton, mild-mannered professor of Political Science at George Mason University, who had been the very young head of the Australian Foreign Office in 1950. He told us of telegrams coming from South Korea to the Foreign Office just before the war broke out, reporting South Korea patrols crossing the border, trying to provoke the North Koreans. Dr Burton took these straight to the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister, `and we sent a very strongly worded telegram to the State Department', asking them to curb South Korea adventurism. Before a reply came back from Washington, the war began. ... Thereafter the telegrams, according to Dr Burton, disappeared from Australian Foreign Office files."

Cumings confirms, "in the British Foreign Office records, ... you'll find a cable, nicely preserved, saying that the Americans were trying to restrain hot-headed South Korea officers along the parallel, a few weeks before June 25."

The South sought to invade the North. Cumings points out that "the southern army had sought to occupy it [Haeju] more than a year earlier [i.e. in 1949], attacking across the parallel from Ongjin."

Cumings writes of "three years of genocidal bombing by the US Air Force which killed perhaps two million civilians (one-quarter of the population), dropped oceans of napalm, left barely a modern building standing, opened large dams to flood nearby rice valleys and kill thousands of peasants by denying them food, and went far beyond anything done in Vietnam in a conscious program of using air power to destroy a society ..." He rightly calls it "one of the most appalling, unrestrained, genocidal bombing campaigns in our genocidal twentieth century ..."
5.0 out of 5 stars Case study of media bias 30 Jan 2013
By David Ecklein - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bruce Cumings, chair of the history department at University of Chicago and one of our foremost specialists on modern Korean history, chronicles his participation in an attempt to present a balanced picture of the Korean War on British and US television. The account is often distressing and sometimes amusing, but always readable and compelling. This book is of interest to those concerned with bias in the media. And those who suspect that the story of US intervention in the Korean Civil War has not been fully and truthfully told to the public.
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