cover image Lights, Camera, War: Is Media Technology Driving International Politics

Lights, Camera, War: Is Media Technology Driving International Politics

Johanna Neuman. St. Martin's Press, $23.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-14004-5

The Gulf War was the first satellite-TV war, where viewers at home knew who was winning before the soldiers in the field did. The effects of satellite TV on world affairs may concern many, but not Neuman, foreign editor of USA Today, who writes that it ``is a major check on government control of information'' and, therefore, a major blow in favor of the people's right to know. Neuman shows how the satellite compares with other inventions that changed history. First she looks at how the invention of the printing press helped fuel Martin Luther's religious revolution. She finds that Samuel F.B. Morse's development of the telegraph caused even more trauma than the power of satellite TV, because for the first time it brought events immediately to the people. She relates how the telegraph was used by journalists in the Civil War and how it fanned the Spanish-American War frenzy; the effect of the Zimmermann telegram on the U.S. entry into WWI; how Edward R. Murrow brought WWII ``home'' via radio; and how JFK used the ``slowness'' of television (as compared to the swiftness of satellites) to deliberate during the Cuban missile crisis. Neuman's march through communication history is informative, a consummate study of the effect of communication on world events. Photos not seen by PW. (Jan.)