Since the late nineteenth century, war and mass media have enjoyed a long, intricate relationship. Like many lengthy relationships, their entanglement has been at once supportive and conflicted: replete with recriminations and declarations of independence on the part of soldiers and reporters, followed by acknowledgements of mutual need. The very technologies with which war is fought have also shaped the means of communication through which distant observers apprehend warfare. The kinship between the gun and the camera — both instruments that bring subjects into sharp focus prior to shooting — has often been remarked (Virilio, 1989). Few books about war and the media lack a dustjacket image that shows men with guns being shot by men with cameras. As this emphasis on sighting and scoping mechanisms suggests, mechanized warfare placed a premium on the ability to pinpoint distant targets with ever greater precision, supplanting more intimate forms of combat in which soldiers clashed at close quarters.
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Susan L. Carruthers
- Macmillan Education UK
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