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The Pen and the Sword

The Pen and the Sword
Press, War, and Terror in the 21st Century

January 2010 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
'Challenges students to reexamine their beliefs about the news media, helping them to become more critical citizens. In doing this, the text engages students' attention in crucial developments in the media, in politics, and in the intersection of the two' - Paul R. Brewer, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Recent content analysis shows that terrorism and international conflict—the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq—have been the number one story of American news since 9/11. The Pen and the Sword is the first comprehensive review of how the news media have covered—and are covering—these momentous events. This coverage is used throughout the book to introduce and to illustrate a critical perspective on the mass media, examining contemporary issues of media economics, politics, and public opinion.

1. Media, Democracy, Hegemony
Democracy and the Press

The Theory of Cultural Hegemony

America’s Place in the World: The Hegemonic Story

Another Story: American Empire

Our Manichean Media

Americans and American Empire

2. Night Falls: 9/11 and the Afghan War
“All Changed, Changed Utterly”

From Multilogue to Monologue

The Entertainment Media Enlist

The Bombing Begins

Happy Days Are Here Again: Burkhas Off, Music On!

Return of the Taliban

3. Iraq: War Comes to the “City of Peace”

War Drums: Fall 2002

Final Stretch

You Don’t Say

The Entertainment Media Reenlist


4. “And the Lord Did Shock and Awe Them That Blasphemed Him”
Power and Glory

The Official Story

Embedding: A Pre–History


The Unembedded: At Risk and At Sea

Kodak Moments

More Inconvenient Facts, More Obfuscation

“Mission Accomplished”

5. Aftermath: “What Rough Beast, Its Hour Come Round at Last . . . "
Pictures from “The Dark Side”

A Casualty Story Becomes a Casualty

The Blood– Dimmed Tide

Obama and Beyond

6. Why?
The Commercial Imperative

Establishment Sources

Mainstreaming the Right


"This is one of the best books on media and politics in print and is strongly recommended to all audiences."

R.E. Dewhirst
Northwest Missouri State University

"Exoo has written an exceptionally thoughtful contribution to the politics and media literature.  This is one of the best books on media and politics in print and is strongly recommended to all audiences."

R.E. Dewhirst
Northwest Missouri State University

An indepth analysis of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq from the media's viewpoint and its impact on society.

Miss Frances Jackson
Public Services, Peterborough Regional College
October 25, 2011

A well written and laid out text that gives the insight into how the media/journalists report terrorism. This is important as it is through imedia reporting people get their understanding of terrorism.

Dr David Lowe
School of Law, Liverpool John Moores University
June 2, 2011

book lacked objectivity; it seemed impossible to use this in a course unless you agreed with the author or constantly had to explain why you disagreed. Possibly it could be used as a supplemental text, but it was too single-issue to be used that way for my course.

Dr Dorothy Schulz
Law Police Science Dept, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
May 27, 2010

The language of conflict: The War on Terror, counter-insurgency, WMDs, embedded correspondents,
IEDs. Anyone who has tuned in to broadcast news or read newspapers in the past 10 years will be familiar with the terms which help shape our opinions. But what is the truth? In a shade over 200 pages Exoo's The Pen and the Sword helps shed a little light on our understanding of war reporting in the 21st century.

Mr David Penman
Journalism , De Montfort University
May 18, 2010

This book offers a good insight into the role of the media during an era of heightened awareness of terrorism. The way it combines the reporting of war and its political undercurrents is a strength.

Mr Malcolm Bradbrook
Journalism , Gloucestershire University
May 6, 2010

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