Lecture by Bruce Williams, Ph.D., University of Virginia
28 Oct 2011 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Annenberg School for Communication, Room 500
From left, Bruce Williams, Ph.D.; cover of his forthcoming book with Annenberg Dean Michael X. Delli Carpini, Ph.D.
Bruce Williams, Ph.D., Professor of Media Studies from the University of Virginia, and co-author with Annenberg Dean Michael X. Delli Carpini, Ph.D. of the forthcoming After Broadcast News: Media Regimes, Democracy, and the New Information Environment (Cambridge, 2011), will deliver a noon time colloquium at Annenberg on Friday, Oct. 28, in Room 500.
Title: From Pickle Barrels to Predator Drones: Media Portrayals of American Air Power And How We Think About War Abstract: This paper argues that since the 1930s, American media have portrayed the United States military as uniquely able to avoid the moral dilemmas posed by modern war (especially the blurring of the line between soldiers and civilians). From coverage of the Norden bombsight in World War II to stories about predator drones over Afghanistan today, popular media in all its changing forms (e.g., Hollywood films, newspapers, television news and drama, video games and YouTube) have generally portrayed American airpower as a weapon uniquely suited to the challenges, both strategic and moral, of modern war. In my presentation I use clips from a wide range of media and across a time span of over 70 years to illustrate the enduring features of this portrayal. The balance of my talk addresses the political and moral implications of this dominant media narrative, especially its virtual erasure of the impact of American air power on civilians.