The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.” The First Amendment made the press a watchdog and a check on the three branches of the government. Journalists have to act as a check on the government because the American people have a “right to know” what their own government is involved in at all times. The press can influence people’s perceptions of a range of topics, and many regards it as “an accessory to the political process.”
Despite a constitutional protected right, ever since the days of the early pioneers, journalists have battled with governmental and military restrictions when searching for, gathering, or publishing information about American military operations. Because a free press is one of the cornerstones in a democratic country such as the U.S., this research paper test the hypothesis: that compared to earlier post-Vietnam military public-affairs strategies, the public-affairs strategy in the invasion phase of the Iraq War allowed the American press at a time of armed conflict to serve as a check on the government and inform the American people about military progress without endangering military operational strategy and security. The paper will also examine why public-affairs strategies have been implemented and what factors have influenced the decision to use the various strategies.
The paper examine military restrictive public-affairs strategy (the Grenada Invasion and the Persian Gulf War), experimental public-affairs strategy (Bosnia intervention and Afghanistan War) and stategic public-affairs startegy (invasion phase of the Iraq War).