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An Investigation into Voluntary Censorship during the first six months of the Korean War

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An Historical Investigation IB History Internal Assessment Michael Zuber Student Number: 002351-060 Coll�ge du L�man School Number: 002351 Word Count: 1846 words An Investigation into Voluntary Censorship during the first six months of the Korean War. Table of Contents A. Plan of Investigation 2 B. Summary of Evidence 2 C. Evaluation of Sources 5 D. Analysis 6 E. Conclusion 9 F. Bibliography 10 A. Plan of Investigation (85 words) This investigation examines the extent to which media censorship in the United States during the initial stages of the Korean War (up to December 21, 19501), was voluntary. December 21, 1950 was the date that General MacArthur imposed full censorship on all media output.2 In addition to his manipulation of information, General MacArthur's role in censorship of information is also analyzed. Two sources, U.S. Television News and Cold War Propaganda, 1947-1960, by Nancy Bernhard and Selling the Korean War, by Steven Casey are evaluated. B. Summary of Evidence (526 words) Propaganda has been used throughout history in order to shape opinion and perception.3 In the twentieth century, an expansion in communications media caused for propaganda to be used more persuasively than ever before.4 War propaganda has often been subject to censorship and the Korean War was no exception. During the initial stages of the Korean War, eye-witness reports stated that South Korean troops were deserting, causing MacArthur's headquarters to issue a counter report declaring that reports of a South Korean collapse had been exaggerated.5 This led to President Truman giving MacArthur control over all of the UN forces in ...read more.


Selling the Korean War: Propaganda, Politics, and Public Opinion, 1950-1953, by Steven Casey, a PhD in International Relations and expert on US foreign policy since 1933,26 is written with the same view as that of Bernhard and therefore both books serve as a complement to one another, thereby increasing their values. The purpose of Casey's book is to look at the "attempts by the US military in Korea to shape, manipulate and mould the images and stories from the actual fighting fronts."27 The book was published in 2008 and therefore gave the already well-respected author access to a wide range of sources including books, articles and personal interviews. The book has also been given rave reviews by many other respected historians such as Ralph B. Levering.28 However, Casey could be guilty of exaggerating the extent to which the US government tried to 'sell' the Korean War to its people. His ideas seem very one-sided and he often does not argue his case objectively. This causes for a certain degree of bias and slightly limits the value of the book. D. Analysis (772 words) Although censorship was supposedly voluntary, a perplexing situation had occurred: officially there was no censorship, but reporters were warned not to reveal delicate information.29 In a press statement by MacArthur's press officer, Colonel Echols, journalists were told that they were not to state "specific units, sizes, titles, places of landings, locations and troop movements" in their articles/stories.30 Also, voluntary censorship came with problems. ...read more.


information bureaus for their every day stories.51 For example, reporters from both the Chicago Tribune and the Daily Worker depended on the Office of Public Affairs (PA) for almost all their main stories.52 Also, reporters normally treated PA officers as primary sources of information.53 The fact that most television networks obtained most of their film from government produced films allowed the US government to control the spread of public information.54 Therefore, even though there technically existed a voluntary censorship system, most information given to news agencies was already censored. However, many (such as reporters from the New York Times) felt that this censorship was crucial in ensuring military security.55 The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) also played a critical role in the spread of information in the United States. Shortly before the Korean War started, many (but not all) broadcasting stations associated themselves with the NAB. Justin Miller, president of the NAB stated that he thought it necessary to preserve the American way of life and therefore gave full cooperation to the American objective which undoubtedly led to censorship of information. 56 E. Conclusion (72 words) Technically, 'voluntary censorship' during the Korean War was the only type of censorship that existed. Also, many organizations, including the NAB, in the United States did practice voluntary censorship as they thought it necessary in order to protect the American people. However, in reality censorship started long before information was even given to the media. MacArthur ensured that information given to journalists was information that he considered safe enough to let out. F. ...read more.

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