Global Communications, International Affairs, and the Media Since 1945

In This Review

Global Communications, International Affairs, and the Media Since 1945

By Philip M. Taylor
Routledge, 1997
248 pp. $75.00
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Despite its title, this thoughtful study is rather focused: it concentrates on the last two decades and issues of war and peace, rather than, for example, trade and commerce. Taylor demonstrates a good feel for the technology of news gathering and dissemination, the evolution of news organizations, and the political consequences of instantaneous global news. Unlike many recent American writers on this subject, he knows the history of communications well and thus avoids some facile judgments. He stakes out some important claims, as when he dismisses the notion that media coverage played a central role in America's defeat in Vietnam -- a view that he regards as a poor excuse for strategic, operational, and tactical errors unrelated to how the war appeared on American television screens. At the same time, he has few kind words for the burgeoning communications industry and the vast majority of the journalists who inhabit it; remarkably enough, he praises the psychological operations community in the American military for its role in some settings.