The Effects of Media
The function of the media—particularly movie and television—in today ‘s society is one of grave importance. The images we see and the words we hear, whether on the large screen in theatres, or on the smaller telecasting screens in our ain places, have a great impact on the manner we view the universe. From the day-to-day intelligence broadcasts to the dramatic universe of film, we can non stay untasted by the omnipresent presence of the media in our lives. Because of this, it is non possible for us to witness day-to-day events without being on some degree influenced by what we see and hear in assorted signifiers of media, all of which play a powerful and complicated function in our lives.
This paper will analyze the ways in which our perceptual experiences are affected by movie and telecasting, both the ways in which our positions are enhanced, and those in which they are manipulated. By pulling on the work of reputable bookmans, research workers, and other experts on the media, it will research the complex relationship between world and perceptual experiences of world, every bit good as the more hard undertaking of sifting through the assorted beds to seek the truth about serious current events in our universe, such as menaces of terrorist act. It will so research the function the media have on our perceptual experiences of the ego in society, analyzing the ways in which movie and telecasting force us to judge ourselves so harshly that we feel the demand to achieve physical flawlessness through utmost steps.
Part I. Terrorism
Terrorism is an issue that affects all of us in modern times. It can be a hard term to specify because it can intend different things to different people.Webster ‘sUnabridged Dictionarydefines terrorist act as ‘the usage of force and menaces to intimidate or hale, particularly for political intents ‘ . This seems like a straightforward definition, but in today ‘s society, the word ‘terrorism ‘ itself is tinged with a figure of niceties, all of which have become portion of our day-to-day life because of the media. Members of the media use the term ‘terrorism ‘ with such frequence, and to depict such a assortment of unsafe state of affairss, that it has become platitude.
It is evident that delegating a definition to the word “terrorism” is non a simple undertaking, and neither is it a straightforward 1. Harmonizing to bookman Robert Fisk, ‘ ” terrorist act ” no longer means terrorist act. It is non a definition ; it is a political appliance ‘ .
In Fisk ‘s appraisal, ‘terrorists ‘ are ‘those who use force against the side that is utilizing the word ‘ ( Fisk, 1990: 441 ) . And, as scholar Aijaz Ahmad points out, ‘there were no Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan before the Americans created them as a counterbalance against the secular left ‘ ( 2003: 20 ) . With such confusing and conflicting utilizations of this word by different members of the media, it is no admiration that the really word itself is adequate to do dismay.
The Media ‘s Duty
Clearly, the media must take duty for their actions. If they choose to convey information in dramatic ways to pull viewing audiences and hearers, so they besides need to be responsible for the terror that follows. If they are non willing to make this, so they need to halt conveying information in such a manner that it induces widespread craze.
Silvio Waisbord discusses two subjects that are indispensable considerations for the media: societal distribution of hazard and duty of hazard. By societal distribution of hazard, Waisbord refers to airing of practical information, including such rudimentss as how to measure existent hazard in crisis state of affairss, every bit good as where to travel and what to make in bad state of affairss. Duty of hazard refers to blameworthiness issues, but is geared less toward delegating incrimination and more toward cognizing whom to near to larn the best possible schemes to minimise danger. To show Waisbord ‘s construct, one can turn to illustrations from the recent yesteryear.
One such illustration is the post-9/11 splenic fever onslaught, which about paralysed parts of lower Manhattan in the aftermath of the World Trade Center onslaughts. Media studies were of such dramatic content that they commanded immediate attending ; yet all these studies did was rise the sense of hysteria—little was done to minimise the hazard, to pacify frights, to assist a scared community draw itself together and carry on a realistic hazard appraisal. In state of affairss like this, it is easy to see how short-sighted the media can be when the promise of high evaluations dominates the scene. The congratulations that will be garnered from being the first or fastest to acquire the intelligence out basically blocks out other, arguably more compelling human inclinations, such as the thrust to protect from injury the community at big.
Based on state of affairss like this, it can be seen that the media frequently fall far short of what is needed. In fact, they “ have problem coverage hazard in a cautious and alert mode, ” writes Waisbord, adding that “ the ‘press panic’ at the tallness of the splenic fever panic in late 2001 confirmed that the media are better at frightening than reassuring” ( Waisbord 2002: 209 ) . It is of small significance, seemingly, that after the initial terror, a less dramatic—and more accurate—rendition of the state of affairs made the headlines. In this version, it was clear that the culprit of the offense was most likely an American. On top of this, the American in inquiry was a authorities employee. Unfortunately, nevertheless, the initial feeling stuck. As pointed out by scholar Rahul Mahajan, “ the harm had mostly been done—Iraq and the possible bio-terrorist menace it purportedly represented had been resurrected as a pressure issue ” ( Mahajan, 2003: 109 ) .
Wag the Dog: Art Imitating Life?
The 1997 movieWag the Dog,a authoritative by Barry Levinson, is an first-class illustration of the function of media and their influence on real-life events. The movie is based on the political epoch in the United States during former President Bill Clinton ‘s term of office in office. Part of its popularity was no uncertainty due to a leading dramatis personae of stars, including Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, Anne Heche, Woody Harrelson, Kirsten Dunst, and William H Macy. The original novel, calledAmerican Hero,was authored by Larry Beinhart.
In the film version, the point is made that a great trade of what the public tends to believe as ‘news ‘ is extremely dependent upon the ‘spin ‘ , or turn, put on a state of affairs by its media representation. The film takes this point to an extreme: a ‘fake ‘ war is created, and the populace is to the full duped into believing this. The film raises a figure of important and upseting issues about the unrestrained bounds to which politicians will travel to accomplish their terminals. When a dirt is broken free, the possibility that the current President of the United States might lose his command for re-election looms big. Enter Robert DeNiro, who plays what is called a ‘fixer’-someone who is called upon when desperate fortunes call for drastic steps. What follows following is an eldritch sequence of events that are spookily near to every-day life, as events are manipulated in such a manner that the American populace is wholly duped into believing what DeNiro ‘s character ‘directs ‘ them to believe.
The Need to ‘Act Responsibly ‘
One of the of import points that this movie brings up is the duty of the media to show the intelligence accurately. What, precisely, does it intend to ‘act responsibly ‘ ? Many critics believe that members of the imperativeness, every bit good as movie manufacturers and managers, should make the uttermost t keep audience members calm, while at the same clip showing the facts every bit accurately as possible. In other words, they should non belie facts ; neither should they gloss over them in order to show a ‘rosy ‘ world, particularly when that is every bit far from the truth as can be imagined. It is up to the members of the media to show the facts in a unagitated and sensible mode.
For illustration, in an anxiety-ridden universe, such as that which could be found in the aftermath of 9/11, media studies did small to better the anxiousness of the people. As Waisbord points out, in the period after 9/11, ‘the media sounded dismay bells and conveyed despair’ ( Waisbord 2002: 211 ) . There was no demand for this extra anxiousness. The media members are to the full cognizant of the power they wield, and should move with appropriate degrees of duty because of this. It is their duty as citizens of the universe to carry on themselves wisely and calmly during periods of crisis. In fact, it can be argued that it is even more of import for them to take it upon themselves to move responsibly during such critical periods of clip. It is in the best involvements, finally, of all of us.
Public Reaction to Rhetoric
Peoples are get downing to respond with less forbearance to rhetoric, which has become more dramatic—and more recognizable. This is peculiarly clear in the alleged ‘war against panic ‘ that has been waged for far excessively long by the President of the United States, George W. Bush. The simple fact remains that there is no terminal in sight. Furthermore, there seems to hold been no type of triumph, no clear consequence, to warrant the figure of gratuitous deceases that have been happening, and that continue to happen as this paper is being written. The initial grounds for the war were non strong to get down with, and they seem less and less compelling as clip goes on.
The media ‘s function in this can be viewed in a figure of ways here. Some would reason that the media have had a great trade to make with the war ‘s length, which many have come to believe is inordinate. Others think the media are finally making society a service by showing some of the more ghastly facets of war to the public oculus. In his Hagiographas, research worker and scholar Alasdair Roberts ( 2006 ) discusses the term ‘wag the Canis familiaris ‘ , indicating out that it has been used in U.S. media studies over the past few old ages an inordinate figure of times. This suggests a turning incredulity with a government—especially one in which it is clear that the primary focal point is on fostering its ain docket at all costs.
Access to Information: Media as ‘Gatekeepers ‘
Some besides argue that many members of the media have come to see themselves as ‘gatekeepers ‘ , be givening to dole out information when and why they see fit. This is a troublesome construct to many. It suggests that the media have an hyperbolic sense of their ain power. Furthermore, it causes a great trade of concern when sing the possible actions that may be caused by this withholding—and release—of information as they see fit. Government swayers may hold grounds for let go ofing, or withholding, certain types of information, and the media may non ever be privy to the grounds behind authorities motives. It is a unsafe game that is being played, when members of the media fail to esteem the powers of authorities in these weighty affairs.
Another facet of authorities swayers and their behaviours is an extra cause of concern to many, and that is the control of information. As Roberts sees it, this is being done on two degrees. First, information about “ critical substructure ” —nuclear workss, power and grapevines, etc.—is withheld. Second is information related to “ the monitoring and review work of federal bureaus ” ( Roberts 2006: 37 ) . Although it may look that this is done with the noblest of intentions—that of protecting the safety of the citizens—this is non ever the instance. The current clime in the political universe is far excessively unstable for this type of power drama. Furthermore, in some states, such as Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, and China, media limitations have been so purely enforced and tightened that they have badly limited entree to information ( Roberts 2006: 120-121 ) . When geographic boundaries are no longer considered sufficient to keep back this type of communicating, trust in government—which is frequently tenuous to get down with—may get down to gnaw even further.
Media and Manipulation
Liebes and Kampf point out that ‘whether panic is directed to accomplish political purposes to make public force per unit area on decision-makers for negociating an ad hoc instance, or to distribute diffuse daze and fright, it relies on the media for recognizing its aims’ ( 2004: 78-79 ) . In add-on, journalists besides have the duty to avoid supplying “oxygen, ” or promotion, to terrorists. At times, this is done unwittingly, such as when media members give free airtime to terrorists in the name of news media. And, since terrorists have become sophisticated plenty to cognize how to pull strings the imperativeness to foster their ain terminals, this can be rather complex.
Terrorist groups have become rather sophisticated in their ability to pull strings non merely the populace, but besides the media. By cleverly playing into the media ‘s custodies, they frequently find themselves with easy and immediate entree to universe intelligence, therefore doing it simple to distribute their message by agencies of pull stringsing the media. The concluding purpose of the terrorist group is non what is most of import here. The existent affair that is important is that the members of the media do non travel along with this game and go pawns as it plays itself out. As Liebes and Kampf write, this is a “blatant pattern, endorsed by intelligence directors” ( 2004: 82 ) .
Media statements are full of symbols and subliminal suggestions, and it is frequently hard to separate the merchandise from the full ‘package ‘ that we are really being sold. As Steven Kemper points out, ‘although it is sometimes utile to separate stuff and symbolic production, trade goods are ne’er merely things ‘ ( Kemper, 2001: 229 ) . We are non merely purchasing a merchandise, we are purchasing an image.
O’Shaughnessy and O’Shaughnessy underscore and spread out on this point: ‘Pictures can so be more persuasive than a 1000 words… Visual grounds is common in commercial advertisement to demo the effects of some decorative or other ‘ ( 2004: 33 ) . In add-on, they point out that in not-for-profit advertisement, images are frequently far more effectual than words: ‘in not-for-profit advertisement images can be the key to promoting public contributions or indignation, as when they show baby seals being battered to decease in Canada, or Canis familiariss in a Hunt rupturing apart a fox, or the skeletal signifier of a malnourished kid in Africa ‘ ( O’Shaughnessy & A ; O’Shaughnessy, 2004: 33 ) . The images we carry off from these advertizements are far more powerful than words.
Part II. Percepts of Self
As stated above, the function of the media—particularly movie and television—in today ‘s society is omnipresent. The images we see, the words we hear—whether on the large screen in theatres, or on the smaller telecasting screens in our ain homes—have an unbelievable impact on the manner we view the universe. From day-to-day intelligence shows to the more dramatic cinematic representations, we can non stay untasted by the omnipresent presence of the media in our lives. For this ground, it is non possible for us to witness day-to-day events without being on some degree influenced by what we see and hear in assorted signifiers of media.
The following subdivision of this paper will analyze the ways in which our perceptual experiences are affected by movie and telecasting in a more personal manner, by analyzing the ways in which our perceptual experiences of ego are affected by these media. It will research the function the media have on our perceptual experiences of the ego in society, analyzing the ways in which movie and telecasting force us to judge ourselves so harshly that we feel the demand to achieve physical flawlessness through what are at times some really utmost steps.
Ad: Selling a New and ‘Better ‘ Self
Ad is omnipresent in our society, and its impact on us is unchallenged. There are obvious beginnings of advertisement, such as the commercials we are subjected to during telecasting interruptions, or in print advertizements for upcoming movies. There are besides less obvious ways in which advertizements seep into our consciousness, through merchandise arrangements in both telecasting shows and films. Bell Hooks has commented that “ the universes of film, Television, and magazines do represent something existent in people ‘s mundane lives. Mass media representations besides shape self and individuality for many immature people ” ( 826 ) . The end of advertisement is to sell merchandises, and this is what we have come to anticipate. However, sometimes we come upon advertizements that have no specific “ merchandise ” to sell. In add-on, alternatively of seeing attractively dressed theoretical accounts, we see people who look merely like us or our household members. These advertizements are elusive, but every bit effectual. We do non see a merchandise, but we are given a message. The message is ever one that will appeal to us. In add-on, there is ever the inclusion of a name trade name.
More of import is what is inexplicit in all of this advertisement: the fact that we are ne’er ‘good ‘ sufficiency, that there is ever some signifier of betterment we can be doing on ourselves. Take, for illustration, the popular and omnipresentNiketrade name, for which we find eternal advertizements in both movie and on telecasting. Every image, every word, and every second of Nike commercials have been carefully engineered to arouse a certain response. Even though the commercials themselves may last every bit small as 20 seconds, the feelings they leave upon viewing audiences are much more lasting. Harmonizing to Goldman and Papson, “Nike‘s advertisement physiques on the globalisation of athleticss civilization, at the same clip that it contributes to the globalisation of trade good civilization ” ( 1998:4 ) . Their advertizements sell a life style, and along with it, the merchandises that bear theNiketrade name. Implicit throughout the ads, nevertheless, is the message that we, as persons, are someway deficient.
Take, for illustration, a recent advertizement put out by Nike. This ad contained expressed messages every bit good as subliminal suggestions that will appeal chiefly to adult females. The primary message is that Nike is committed to the authorization of adult females. However, there are no “ adult females ” in the ad itself. Rather, what we see is a series of immature misss. These misss appear to be pre-adolescent, and their visual aspects are carefully designed to stand for a assortment of civilizations. One thing they do hold in common, nevertheless, is that they all appear in an out-of-door environment. In add-on, the environment is one that is sports-related. The other thing they have in common is that each of them has something to state when prompted by the words “ If you allow me play athleticss. ”
The repeat of the words “ if you allow me play athleticss ” makes it clear that athleticss are an of import facet of adult females ‘s lives. Harmonizing to Goldman and Papson, “ a primary message in the adult females ‘s ads has been that remaining in good physical status is a womb-to-tomb activity… ” ( 1998:121 ) . Apparently, this advertizement underscores the importance of athleticss by including the specific ways in which athleticss can add to the lives of adult females.
“ If you allow me play athleticss… . ”
1.I will wish myself more.
2.I will hold more egos assurance.
3.I will be 60 per centum less likely to acquire breast malignant neoplastic disease.
4.I will endure less depression.
5.I will be more likely to go forth a adult male who beats me.
6.I will be less likely to acquire pregnant before I want to.
7.I will larn what it means to be strong.
Harmonizing to Goldman and Papson, “ advertisement plants by allowing, or pulling on, significances from other referent systems. . . While the obvious referent system forNikeis the famous person jock,Nikeads are besides rich in allusions to popular civilization ” ( 26 ) . That is clearly one moral force that is at drama in this advertizement. The words that are uttered by these immature misss are evidently designed to animate certain strong emotions. Beyond the actual messages that are delivered, there is another message that is transmitted through metacommunication. There is a really clear subtext in this ad, and that subtext is based on an false relationship between the adult females who are sing the ad and the advertizer.
Susan Bordo has suggested that “ a careful reading of modern-day advertizements reveals continual and sharp use of jobs that psychological science and the popular media have targeted as characteristic quandary of the ‘contemporary adult female, ‘ ” ( 104–105 ) . We can see this at drama in each of theNikemessages that are delivered in this ad.
Decoding the Messages
By analysing each of these messages, we can try to “ decrypt ” them in order to understand the “ message behind the message. ” The first thing to be considered here is that these statements are uttered by immature misss, although it is more likely that these are things big adult females would state. They are brief, simple statements, delivered in composure, even tones that suggest a mantra-like attitude.
1.I will wish myself more. By expressing these words, the first miss instantly captures our attending. Harmonizing to Bordo, most adult females in our civilization are “ ‘disordered ‘ when it comes to issues of self-worth, self-entitlement, self-nourishment, and comfort with their ain organic structures ” ( 57 ) . Therefore, the initial “ message ” of this advertizement addresses that issue. It does so on two degrees. First, although this ad is aimed at grownup females, these females will place on some degree with the “ interior kid ” that these immature misss represent. Second, as grownup females, many of them will see the ad in a maternal manner, and they will place theNiketrade name as one that empowers their girls.
2.I will hold more assurance.Here once more, the advertizement addresses an issue that will strongly vibrate with adult females. Having grown up in a patriarchal society, many adult females tend to hold lower assurance degrees than their male opposite numbers. Bordo has explained how this has affected adult females ‘s perceptual experiences of themselves: “ the reigning political orientation of muliebrity. . . was childly, nonassertive, helpless without a adult male ” ( 170 ) . This message suggests that the purchase ofNikemerchandises will increase our assurance and our ability to map independently.
3.I will be 60 per centum less likely to acquire breast malignant neoplastic disease.This is a powerful statement. Breast malignant neoplastic disease is something all adult females live in fright of ; because of this, we are eager to integrate into our day-to-day lives any wonts that will maintain us free of it. By saying a definite per centum, this averment carries the ring of scientific credibleness. It must be noted that the connexion between playing athleticss and contending chest malignant neoplastic disease is obscure. Furthermore, the “ statistic ” is being quoted by a immature miss, non by a medical professional. However, the point has been made:Nikeis on the side of adult females, making all it can to contend chest malignant neoplastic disease. Once that association has been made clear, the message stays with us.
4.I will endure less depression.Exercise is by and large known to hold a positive consequence on our tempers. Nike takes this general statement and makes it personal. Harmonizing to statistics, “ about 12 million adult females in the United States experience depression every twelvemonth — approximately twice the rate of work forces ” ( NIMH, 1999 ) . In add-on, as Bordo has noted, “ the cultivation of strength, legerity, and assurance clearly has a positive dimension ” ( 151 ) . Clearly, depression is an issue that is of involvement to adult females, and this message addresses that issue. The consequence is that we are forced to observe the connexion between absence of depression and the usage ofNikemerchandises.
5.I will be more likely to go forth a adult male who beats me.Domestic force is another emotionally charged issue for a figure of adult females. It crosses cultural, racial, age, national beginning, sexual orientation, spiritual and socioeconomic lines. Harmonizing to the American Psychological Association, “ 4 million American adult females see a serious assault by an intimate spouse during an mean 12-month period. ” ThisNikeadvertizement capitalizes on this issue here, beef uping the message that this is a company that strongly champions adult females ‘s rights. Of class, no adult female who has escaped from an opprobrious relationship would impute her actions to a brace of gym shoes. Yet this is the implied message: adult females who buyNikemerchandises are able to do monumental alterations in their lives.
6.I will be less likely to acquire pregnant before I want to.Here once more, this advertizement brings up an issue that is likely to animate strong reactions in most adult females.Nike‘s advertizement diplomatically raises the issue of adolescent gestation without reference of the negative associations that this issue frequently brings up, such as abortion. In this manner it entreaties to adult females on an emotional degree and at the same clip sidesteps any of the negative associations.
7.I will larn what it means to be strong.This last message is repeated. Because itisthe concluding message, and because of the repeat, it seems that this is the most of import thought that this advertizement is seeking to convey. By tie ining itself with positive properties that promote independency, such as strength,Nikeentreaties to adult females ‘s desire to be strong. As Goldman and Papson have pointed out, “Nikehails its viewing audiences as hip, understanding, and media literate and so it draws on texts that signify these qualities ” ( 27 ) .
The end of advertisement, as stated earlier, is to sell merchandises. That is what thisNikeadvertizement does, even though there are no merchandises in the ad. We do n’t see a merchandise, but we are given a message. The message is ever one that will appeal to us, both as adult females and as female parents. Every image, every word, and every second of this Nike commercial has been carefully engineered to arouse a certain response. Even though the commercial itself lasts twenty seconds, the feeling it leaves is designed to last much longer.
In decision, it can be seen that the function of the media—particularly movie and television—in today ‘s society is one of grave importance. Because the images we see and the words we hear, whether on the large screen in theatres, or on the smaller telecasting screens in our ain places, have a great impact on the manner we view the universe, this is a important issue and one that demands our attending. We can see in the day-to-day intelligence broadcasts to the dramatic universe of film, and we can non stay untasted by the omnipresent presence of the media in our lives. Because of this, it is non possible for us to witness day-to-day events without being on some degree influenced by what we see and hear in assorted signifiers of media, all of which play a powerful and complicated function in our lives.
This paper has examined the myriad ways in which our perceptual experiences are affected by movie and telecasting, both the ways in which our positions are enhanced, and those in which they are manipulated. By pulling on the work of reputable bookmans, research workers, and other experts on the media, it has tried to analyze the progressively complex relationship between world and perceptual experiences of world, every bit good as the more hard undertaking of sifting through the assorted beds to seek the truth about serious current events in our universe. We are progressively affected by what we see in movie and on telecasting, and this makes the function these types of media play in our lives and in our hereafters progressively important.
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