The distance as well as the inequality of military

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Unformatted text preview: ry operations. Howard’s work in the Crimea gave rise to some of the problems that have accosted war journalism ever since. Despite his glorification of war in the early dispatches, in which he started a number of war clichés, such as “rain of death”, a grapeshot which “tore through the enemy lines”, “the terrible enemy” and the “gallant” British troops (Knightly 1975: 10), many of his dispatches were unacceptable for the military. As Howard criticised the command of the operation, and described the situation of the British Expedition in much detail, he was accused of breaches of security, as in some of his dispatches he disclosed the position, weaponry and supply problems of the British. His strictures The concept of ‘war’ in the humanities 99 as well as Thomas Chenery’s vivid report on the shortcomings of the British medical support of the operation aroused outrage in Britain. As a result, the Government sought to replace the command, while charity organizations provided hospital care. This showed the power of the press, which the military strove to curb with a general order issued on Feb. 25th 1856 by Sir William Codrington, who warned the correspondents that if any security breach occurs, the correspondent will be removed from the front. This order, although it had little impact in the Crimean War, which was about to end, is considered the origin of British press censorship. The period between 1865-1914 was regarded as the Golden Age of war journalism. The colonial wars reported then, ensured a distance for the European audience that wars that would be fought in Europe in the 20th c. could not. This reporting carried some of the racial prejudice, so that the battles with locals were reported with hunting vocabulary (see Chapter Four on the reporting of the war on terror as a hunt. The distance as well as the inequality of military power contributed to the Glory of War Myth, when war appeared as an exciting manly adventure. This period also raised a question about the non-combatant status of the war correspondents. Knightly (1975: 43) describes it in the following passage: … Richard Harding Davis of the New York Journal and Harper’s New Monthly Magazine – helped to start the Spanish American War. (…) The British, especially The Times correspondents, were not averse to a little intelligence work for the Foreign Office on the side, and one of the Americans, H. M. Stanley, was not above starting his own small wars in Africa and then reporting them. The reporting of the Boer War (1899-1902), although it changed the perspective of the British as they did not win, aroused such civilian interest in the readers that Thos Cook and Sons advertised a tour of the battlefield. In his description of the warfare Knightly stresses that the British forces’ major strategy was to fight and win battles, while the Boers defied this method and opted for guerrilla war. The British retaliation consisted in farm-burning, concentration camps and collecti...
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This essay was uploaded on 02/24/2014 for the course LING 1100 taught by Professor Friedman during the Fall '09 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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