Technological advances have enabled media to provide near-instantaneous coverage from every corner of the world. This first became apparent during Operation Desert Shield in 1990, when the public was exposed to images of U.S. military operations in Kuwait and Iraq with minimal delay. The technology continued to evolve, and during Operations Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and Enduring Freedom in 2001, broadcasts were real-time, and many 24-hour news networks now existed. Images of violence such as suicide bombings and firefights inundated the daily lives of Americans.
As you have already learned, terrorism depends on the ability to inspire fear. In the past, this influence was limited by an individual’s proximity to the event and word of mouth regarding the act. Today, although media outlets are rarely at the attack site during an attack, they usually broadcast the destruction that ensues. The media’s ability to report on these events increased the terrorists’ audience exponentially. Western media coverage has ironically created a false proximity that has proven to be effective at spreading fear to the masses.
For example, Spain’s decision to withdraw support for the Iraq War followed extensive media coverage of the Madrid train bombings. It has been said that the media coverage of the attack strongly influenced public opinion against the Iraq War to such an extent that government policy shifted.
For this assignment, you are the public relations officer for the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. ISAF is the military command under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization responsible for security, stability, and reconstruction in Afghanistan. Your commander has indicated that the Taliban insurgents have been gaining in popularity primarily through their effective use of the media. He believes ISAF needs to develop a better relationship with the media to help mitigate the insurgents’ attempts to gain support and positive public sentiment through their media efforts.
You have been selected to lead the media campaign for ISAF. Through extensive liaison, you have been allowed to write 1 article that will run simultaneously in the major news publications throughout the United States, Europe, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
Your commander has given you the freedom to write what you feel is necessary, so long as it contains the following at a minimum: