States, War, and the Media

Throughout history, violent conflict has always been mediated. Poems, sculptures, paintings, frescos, books, theatre plays, newspapers, the telegraph, photographs, radio airwaves, television broadcasts, satellites, cinema, cell phones, and – most recently – digital new media platforms. They all have depicted and mediatized war and thereby influenced how we have viewed and approached political violence. Different media platforms in this sense have always played an important role in shaping violent events and our understanding thereof.

Speaking at James Der Derian’s Global Media Project at Brown University on 26 September 2012, Dr Sebastian Kaempf, one of the TheVisionMachine’s contributing editors, discusses the nature of the relationship between conventional (so-called ‘old’) media, war, and traditional actors in international relations. What has been the historical relationship between old media, war, states, and empires? How have concepts of power, agency, and representation been manifested in this relationship? And how has this traditional nexus between the state, war and the media been affected by the recent emergence of digital new media platforms? Ian Slater and other students of the Global Media Project documented and produced this short edited clip of the event.

One thought on “States, War, and the Media

  1. Firstly, I believe the “revolution” of shared digitized media has diluted, not enhanced, media coverage. More importantly, audiences gravitate toward slick, easily digestible content; media outlets fight hard for high ratings by creating sexy content; and most content generators eventually prefer to be paid for their work. If producers have talent, they are subsumed by corporations that can pay reporters and publicity generators. The missing component in all of this is an audience interested and educated enough to think critically about the material that is being shared. Materialistic audiences who absorb and promote perceptions and memes without question, without argument, without rational thought ought to bear some of the blame for the state of our media. A true revolution would mean cessation of interaction with the msm and consumer culture.

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