Today, public affairs are vital in the US Armed Forces. It's supported by the notion that government must answer for resources given to it by the people. The military is obliged to keep people informed of the safety of their nation. No governmental department has higher responsibility than the presidential office, and no other agency has a well-oiled public communications machine like the Department of Defense.
Before electronic journalism, public affairs officers could shape battlefield news by providing proprietary accounts. With the advent of jet travel and evolving news gathering techniques during the US war with Vietnam, public affairs officers found this wasn't possible. The White House and Senior Department of Defense leadership took on public communications to ensure favorable reporting of their decisions and policies. They censored news when reporters were in the field and talking to the enemy. As correspondents brought Vietnam into American living rooms, it became impossible for U.S. officials to deny they were propping up corrupt government, escalating U.S. commitments without results. Public opinion turned against the effort and led President Lyndon Johnson to step down after one term in office
No element of current conflict in Iraq triggers more emotion within the military than the role of media on public opinion and policy. Since the Civil War, unreliable assertions associated with media influence on wars have caused debates, and parties continue to argue the media's effects. Previously, contention over the media influence has become sensitive when policies of administration executing the conflict are seen as being too slow or failing to achieve political objectives at the cost of mounting casualties.
Critics accuse the media of editorial bias that undermines...