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Weapons of Mass Persuasion

Weapons of Mass Persuasion: Marketing the War Against Iraq

Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 238
  • Book Info
    Weapons of Mass Persuasion
    Book Description:

    Weapons of Mass Persuasionchronicles the making of a Hollywood war: fast-paced and heroic, pitting the forces of good against the forces of evil to achieve a triumphant, sanitized, and commodified outcome.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2348-4
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
    Paul Rutherford
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-7)

    War by Disney: that is how Glenna, an artist I interviewed, described the Iraq War she had witnessed on television and read about in Toronto newspapers. ‘You could almost say this was a war invented and produced by Disney studios. It was monumental, it was full of slogans and images, it was like a production. And it happened, and [they] got it over so fast, they got away with it too/The House of Mickey had nothing to do with the actual war. But the way the war was presented, at least in North America, seemed very similar to the style...

  6. ONE Marketing’s Moment
    (pp. 8-21)

    It is hard to exaggerate the significance of hype in the political as well as the commercial life of the United States. Nothing really big, no new product meant for the millions enters the marketplace unless heavily promoted to feed the demand, the desire to possess -often well before its release. The August 1995 launch of Microsoft Windows 95, a new version of the operating system for the mainstream PC market, was preceded by an extraordinary burst of publicity involving television commercials, print ads, in-store promotions, public relations, and publicity stunts. It was variously estimated that Microsoft itself had spent...

  7. TWO The War Debate
    (pp. 22-49)

    That Colin Powell might be exasperated by the United Nations was hardly surprising (figure 2.1). The Secretary of State had been billed in the media as the most prominent moderate in the Bush administration, not because he opposed war but because he opposed unilateral action. Powell, along with Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom, constantly sought to win the approval of the United Nations for a new war against Iraq to ensure its disarmament. Both men hoped to renew the coalition that had triumphed in Gulf War I. The trouble was that the UN had refused to accept...

  8. THREE Managing War
    (pp. 50-78)

    ‘Let me begin by saying this will be a campaign unlike any other in history, a campaign characterized by shock, by surprise, by flexibility, by the employment of precise munitions a scale never before seen, and by the application of overwhelming force.’ That was how General Tommy Franks, the overall commander of coalition forces in what was now called Operation Iraqi Freedom, described the forthcoming invasion his briefing on military operations on the 22nd of March. On the whole his prediction was right: the war took only three weeks, 20 March (Baghdad time) to 9 April, during which the Americans...

  9. FOUR Real-Time War
    (pp. 79-110)

    Pity the poor viewer (see figure 4.1). ‘I watch as soon as I get home from work and I stay up until midnight watching,’ a college professor from Iowa, a young man of thirty-three, told Reuters (2 April). Before, so he said, he had only watched an hour of television a night. It drives my wife crazy because I keep watching the same things over and over/he told the reporter. ‘It seems like every hour there’s some little tidbit that’s new, it might be three minutes worth of news every hour that are different than the stuff you’ve heard, but...

  10. FIVE Consuming War
    (pp. 111-143)

    A familiar theme in the criticism of the real-time war was the lot of the overwhelmed viewers, caught in a media storm and unable to find their bearings (see figure 5.1). How could anyone make sense out of such a profusion of information, analysis, speculation, rumour, and contradiction? That kind of question, though, spoke more to the naivete of the critic than life of the consumer. Except for new arrivals or the hopelessly distracted, adults in North America are veterans of innumerable media storms, the result of growing up in the of unlimited media. They have had to develop what...

  11. SIX Perceptions of War
    (pp. 144-163)

    The real-time war was a global phenomenon. It had the same sort of appeal to people in London or Tokyo as it did for any of the individuals I interviewed in Toronto. ‘It’s just like a Western.’ said Aras, a 20-year-old student in Tehran (Reuters, 27 March). ‘I sit in front of the television with my bowl of popcorn and watch the movie of the war,’ It had the capacity to provoke both intense interest and intense emotions. ‘It’s just so horrifying,’ said Ingeborg Boenigk, a teacher in Berlin (Washington Post,2 April): ‘When you see a body suffering, you...

  12. SEVEN The Phallic Dimension
    (pp. 164-182)

    Time and again I have been conscious of a wholesale concentration on the technical, tactical aspects of warfare ... small boys’ fascination with toys,’ said Kate Adie, a veteran ex-correspondent, once attached to the BBC (theTelegraph,19 April). ‘It means that those things which conventionally interest the male audience are concentrated on, and women disappear from a landscape in which tanks are rolling and missiles shooting,’ The hope was to concoct jeopardy and peril, to boost the action, to show the big guns, the very kinds of material men traditionally liked to see at home and in the movies...

  13. EIGHT The Propaganda State
    (pp. 183-193)

    ‘There is one thing that stories also have that this doesn’t to which is [an] end, a wrap up, a denouement, a solution,’ Bruce R. ‘I find it a very unsatisfying story because ... I don’t think it is a story, it may be a chapter... There isn’t really closure, I don’t think,’ Other members of the citizens’ panel made similar comments: the beginning of ‘a very, very long (Sam), part of an’ endless war’ (Stephanie), perhaps the coming of ‘another Rome’ (Bruce W). Bruce R was right. The War was only a chapter in a series of other stories....

  14. Postscript: Summer/Fall 2003
    (pp. 194-198)

    The cover headline of the October 6thTimeread ‘MISSION NOT ACCOMPLISHED,’ It was superimposed on a picture of a smiling George Bush, dressed in his pilot’s outfit, surrounded by the sailors of the USSAbraham Lincoln,taken during his triumphant address on 1 May. The reference was to a banner on the deck of the aircraft carrier that had proclaimed ‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED,’ Inside the magazine was a series of stories, full of references to officials and experts and politicians, that detailed how badly things had gone wrong in post-invasion Iraq: the persistence of guerrilla assaults in and around Baghdad,...

  15. APPENDIX Consumer Voices / Citizens’ Panel
    (pp. 199-200)
  16. Sources
    (pp. 201-208)
  17. Index
    (pp. 209-226)