Militainment: U.S. Military Propaganda in the News Media, Hollywood, and Video Games

Posted on 13 June 2010 by


“Propaganda is at its most effective when the audience does not know it is being manipulated and one of the best, glitziest examples of that is when propaganda is delivered on the big screen in the guise of a Hollywood blockbuster.”–The Listening Post, 12 June 2010

Al Jazeera’s The Listening Post had an excellent review and overview today of the nature and extent of militainment (resources for this follow below). In particular, The Listening Post described how various branches of the American armed services–the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard–and the Department of Defense itself have each established a beach-head in Hollywood. The Pentagon has liaison officers stationed in Los Angeles, precisely for the purpose of working with Hollywood, and indeed, one of these officers has since left and joined Al Jazeera, and is interviewed in this report. In return for Pentagon consultants, and even actual troops performing stunts and carrying out action scenes in select films (such as Blackhawk Down), as well as the provision of U.S. military equipment, Hollywood filmmakers submit their scripts to the Pentagon for review and approval. The result is a “slickly produced feature length advertisement” for the U.S. military. Where news media are concerned, the Listening Post provides a quick review of what has already been documented and established, concerning the practice under Rumsfeld’s Pentagon of preparing retired generals to go out and serve as “expert military analysts” in order to talk up the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Entities such as NBC/CNBC/MSNBC are owned by GE, a major defense contractor. Meanwhile, the video game industry, which exceeds Hollywood in profits, has been a major output of militarized culture, with some games meant to serve as intentional recruitment tools, while actual war itself is being rendered into a video game (such as the flying of drone strikes). Other examples of the wide reach of political-economic militarization throughout American culture was covered in this previous essay here: “100 percent (Militarized) American” (note the Pentagon Lt. Col. who then appeared to slam the essay in the comments section).

Interestingly, the Listening Post makes the comment, “Ladies love a man in uniform,” when referring to a Ukrainian military recruitment video–which brings to mind the Human Terrain System’s own Montgomery McFate and her blog, titled precisely “I Luv a Man in a Uniform” now back online to serve the same propaganda functions of sexually idolizing military men. As for the contract between the media and the military, with reference to HTS, we saw this again recently on this site, twice, in “Video Propaganda: Human Terrain System on National Geographic,” and in, “Human Terrain System in Afghanistan.”

Video Documentaries and News Reports on Militainment:

Al Jazeera, The Listening Post: The Military and the Media

Militainment, Inc: Full 2-hour documentary

more about “Militainment“, posted with vodpod

Operation Hollywood: on CBC’s The Passionate Eye (full-length, 57 mins)

more about “Operation Hollywood: CBC, Passionate Eye“, posted with vodpod

Audio from ‘America’s Army’ Blurs Virtual War, ‘Militainment’, NPR, 02 March 2010


Books:

Militainment, Inc.: War, Media, and Popular Culture
By Roger Stahl

A century of media, a century of war
By Robin Andersen

Operation Hollywood: how the Pentagon shapes and censors the movies
By David L. Robb

Analysis and News online–a short list:

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