Sometimes they were deliberately misinformed by the

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Unformatted text preview: ship, but as news dispatches were written by bureaucrats with limited linguistic skills, the Russian public soon learnt how to interpret the distorted message. The American journalists were also heavily censored and contributed to the propaganda writing. The war in the Pacific was reported with the same racial overtone so characteristic of the colonial period wars in the Golden Age of war journalism. Both the Americans and the Japanese employed a racist perspective, which facilitated the dehumanization of the enemy (see also the discussion of the enemy vilification strategies in Chapter Four). This, in turn, led to appalling atrocities on both sides. It should come as no surprise that both sides reported only the atrocities of the enemy, and concealed those committed by their own troops. The short overview of Knightly’s book presented above does not do justice to its rich detail and lively style. Still, it clearly shows how war correspondents contributed to the creation of the Glory of War Myth. Although since the early beginnings of war journalism some of the reporters described the hard ploy of the soldiers and sometimes even dared to criticise the command, many were oblivious to the war suffering and enthusiastically depicted it as an exhilarating experience (especially in the Golden Age of war journalism). Already in the Crimean War censorship steps were taken against the reporters’ freedom of speech. However, it was not only censorship that should be blamed for the biases in war reports, but also the journalists’ patriotic zeal and their drive for a scoop, which led them to exaggeration of the enemy’s losses and atrocities, and minimising of the casualties of their own troops. Correspondents’ personal involvement in the operations often influenced their work, so that they represented the side they sympathised with in a more favourable light. Sometimes they were deliberately misinformed by the authorities they worked with. One of the notorious problems with war reporting was the journalists’ non-combatant status, as they were often involved in intelligence work for their governments, and some, especially in the late 19th c. but also in the Spanish War, took active part in the fighting. When 102 Chapter III it comes to the phrasing of the romantic legend of the war, the correspondents are responsible for the heroic vocabulary, in which the operations of their own troops were described, for using euphemisms when the facts were not palatable to their taste, and also for increasing the antagonism between the sides of the conflict through atrocity stories and racial prejudice, which dehumanised the enemy and both encouraged and justified ruthless brutality in the treatment of the adversary. 7. Linguistics and war Linguists, when dealing with the domain of war, usually employ what Charteris-Black (2004) called critical metaphor analysis, which allows them to show how the use of metaphor highlights and hides certain aspects of the phenomena they are used to enunciate. This ability to manipulate the image of the worl...
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