British News Media and the Spanish Civil War: Tomorrow May Be Too Late (International Communications EUP)

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9780748627486: British News Media and the Spanish Civil War: Tomorrow May Be Too Late (International Communications EUP)

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was reported by some of the most eminent journalists of the twentieth century and was the subject of reportage that still endures in public memory. However, these represent just a small fraction of the total news coverage of the war, raising the possibility that they provide a partial, even atypical, view of the international media's engagement with, and performance in, the conflict. This book provides the most extensive and detailed analysis of the reporting of the conflict ever undertaken, examining the personalities, routines, pressures and structures that shaped news coverage of the war in Britain as it unfolded. The book combines a comprehensive overview of the existing literature on the role of the news media in the conflict, with a vast amount of new evidence, gleaned from the author's detailed investigations in a range of official and media archives.Highlights include:* Analysis of the strategies used by Republican and Nationalist forces to control and manage international press opinion* Examination of journalists' personal experiences in Spain, and how these affected their political opinions and professional values* Scrutiny of the pressures exerted by the British government on news correspondents, editors and proprietors as it sought to convince domestic and international opinion of the validity of its policy of international non-intervention in the war* A systematic analysis of actual news coverage of the conflict, examining the extent to which media evaluations and interpretations of the conflict altered as events unfolded.* Written in a highly accessible manner, this book will appeal to a wide readership, including students and academics working in the fields of politics, history and cultural, communication and media studies, as well as any other readers interested in the history and legacy of the Spanish Civil War.

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About the Author:


David Deacon is Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies at the Loughborough University.

Review:

BRITISH NEWS MEDIA AND THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR: TOMORROW MAY BE TOO LATE David Deacon, 2008 Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press Viii 196 pp., ISBN 978-0-7486-2748-6 (hbk GBP60.00) The public representation of the Spanish Civil War has, unsurprisingly, received considerable attention from scholars in recent years. The conflict attracted, after all, an impressive array of talented writers, journalists and photographers, from Ernest Hemmingway and George Orwell to Martha Gellhorn and Robert Capa; it prompted numerous artistic responses, including Picasso's masterpiece Guernica. It seemed, both at the time and in retrospect, a struggle with huge significance not just for the future of Spain, but for the future of the world: a battle of rival ideologies which could destabilize the balance of power in Europe and pave the way for a global war. Despite this ongoing interest, there has not been a comprehensive survey of the British media's coverage of the events in Spain. David Deacon's new volume fills this gap with great authority. It focuses not just on the content of the journalism but the conditions under which it was produced and the editorial pressures that shaped its presentation. It demonstrates that the British press was more uncertain and confused in its response to the civil war than has often been assumed; several newspapers shifted their positions significantly, and, in particular, reservations about Franco grew over time. Deacon suggests that, on balance, the Republican government won the media war, but ultimately 'the scale of its victory was insufficient' (171): it was not able to stir British opinion into demanding firmer action in its support, and hobbled by the Non-Intervention pact, it eventually succumbed to military defeat. The book's structure enables the reader to follow the complex journey that the 'news from Spain' took on its way to breakfast tables around Britain. The first substantive chapter compares the initially 'rigid and aggressive news management' of the Nationalists with the more 'permissive' approach of the Republicans (40); the greater freedom allowed to journalists, coupled with a more advanced communications infrastructure, encouraged more detailed and often more sympathetic coverage of Republican activities. If killings in Republican zones in the early months of the war were over-reported, the relative mobility of journalists enabled The Times' George Steer, among others, to be in place to witness the devastation at Guernica and to identify the perpetrators coverage which did incalculable damage to the Nationalists' reputation. Two further chapters on the experiences of journalists on the front lines reinforce the point that the views of the Anglo-American press contingent were noticeably inclined towards the Republican cause although if there was a widespread desire to support the defence of democracy, the vast majority of correspondents were deeply suspicious of the more revolutionary groupings working alongside the moderate government forces. Deacon also shows how female reporters, lacking the status of their male counterparts, were generally left to cover the impact of the warfare on ordinary citizens; he notes that their accounts were often given 'considerable prominence' in British newspapers (69), but he does not provide sufficient evidence to Media History, Vol. 16, No. 2, 2010 ISSN 1368-8804 print/1469-9729 online/10/020253 13 DOI: 10.1080/13688801003656355 Downloaded By: [Loughborough University] At: 13:50 8 April 2010 sustain his argument that this eyewitness testimony of civilian resolution in the facing of bombardment served to weaken the 'air fear' gripping Europe in the 1930s. But if journalists in Spain tended to favour the Republican position, there were significant countervailing pressures in Britain. In a chapter which draws extensively on the National Archives and the editorial archives of The Times, the Manchester Guardian and the BBC, Deacon demonstrates the ways in which the government largely through the News Department of the Foreign Office sought to mould media debate and maintain support for the policy of Non-Intervention. The British National Government, the author shows, had a 'barely concealed political and ideological antipathy to the Republic' (110), and consistently sought to avoid antagonizing the Fascist regimes in Germany and Italy. An interesting case study of Frederick Voight, the Diplomatic Correspondent of the Manchester Guardian, indicates the effectiveness of the Foreign Office's 'management' of the press. Voight's analysis of the civil war he spent relatively little time in Spain itself was uncomfortably similar to that of the British government's, even though he worked for a paper overtly backing the Republicans. Deacon builds a persuasive case that Voight's divergence from his paper's line was due to his integration into the Foreign Office's diplomatic lobby system. The BBC was placed under even more pressure: as early as March 1937, John Reith, the Director-General, recorded that the Foreign Office 'would be glad' if the BBC became 'sufficiently obviously pro-Insurgent to convince Franco' that it, and by extension the government, were 'not Anti-Franco' (96). Reith had few qualms about adopting this line. Deacon also suggests that commercial interests may have encouraged some proprietors to be receptive to the government's desire to 'cool and constrain' media debate about the international situation (110), although decisive evidence for this is, as ever, hard to find. It is not easy to disentangle genuinely held political views from commercial motives: what is clear, however, is the difficulty, in this climate of opinion, of sustaining the case for decisive British intervention on the side of the Republicans. The most impressive and longest chapter is devoted to the actual content of the press coverage of the civil war. Based on a survey of over 10,000 news and commentary items taken from three sample months, this analysis is a model of precision. Graphs, tables and maps are provided to summarize changing levels of coverage, the location of journalists, the sources used in reporting, the labels employed to describe the two sides, and, most importantly of all, the interpretive categories and editorial policies of each paper. Deacon provides a wealth of valuable information that will be useful to anyone interested in foreign affairs journalism: it is difficult to imagine being provided with a fuller or more nuanced picture of the British press's response to the conflict. Amidst this complexity, some clear patterns can be identified, most notably that over time 'Nationalist sins gained prominence over Republican failings and, by the end, even those inclined to oppose the Republic ... demonstrated some compassion for Republican suffering and admiration for their resistance' (146). By the end of the war, there were few voices praising Franco with any enthusiasm. After this analytical tour de force, the final substantive chapter on 'other avenues of Spanish news' namely, newsreels, photography and the weekly press feels rather lightweight, based as it is on secondary literature, but it does at least ensure a rounded coverage which incorporates all of the main media forms of the 1930s. 254 BOOK REVIEWS Downloaded By: [Loughborough University] At: 13:50 8 April 2010 Inevitably, there are some minor quibbles. The author waits until the brief concluding chapter to introduce a model of a 'propaganda state' to describe the activities of the British government: 'The Propaganda State of the 1930s,' he writes, 'recognised the need to legitimise its policies but felt little need to legitimise itself' (178). This is a suggestive avenue to explore, but it would have been more helpful to signpost it earlier to allow the reader the opportunity to assess its worth. Despite the flurry of tables and statistics summarizing the press coverage, moreover, the reader does not get much of a flavour of the actual language and tone of the news reporting and commentary beyond the headlines. Overall, though, this is a very significant addition to the literature on interwar journalism, and it stands as a shining example of methodological rigour in the field of media history. Adrian Bingham, University of Sheffield # 2010, Adrian Bingham -- Adrian Bingham Media History 'This book is a deeply researched media history shaped by the eye of a media sociologist. In a lucid and thoughtful account, David Deacon has explored the continuities between past and present. The media coverage of the Spanish civil war still holds lessons for analysing communications in our own war-torn times.' -- Professor Philip Schlesinger, University of Glasgow 'David Deacon is to be congratulated for this splendid study of British news media reporting of the Spanish Civil War, which combines the historian's concern with detailed analysis of primary and archival sources with the broader sweep of journalism theory, to create a fascinating, scholarly but controversial mix. British News Media and the Spanish Civil War is destined to become a Classic within the literature of journalism studies. It establishes a demanding new benchmark of excellence for the flurry of recent studies of war reporting in Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflict regions. Deacon's eloquent but forensic discussion of the attitudes and experiences of foreign correspondents, the contribution of women correspondents and photojournalists, the propaganda activities of the Republican and nationalist protagonists, as well as the news management activities of the British Government, explains and unravels the various factors which shaped the essentially complex and partisan character of British press coverage of the Spanish Civil War. Deacon's suggestion that journalism may assist historical understanding but that its key concern is 'to influence social and political events', along with his challenge to contemporary ideas concerning the 'mediatization' of politics and conflict, makes this is a highly controversial as well as deeply scholarly book.' -- Bob Franklin, Cardiff University This book provides an extensive and detailed analysis of the reporting of the conflict, examining the personalities, routines, pressures and structures that shaped news coverage of the war in Britain as it unfolded. The book combines a comprehensive overview of the existing literature on the role of the news media in the conflict, with a vast amount of new evidence, gleaned from the author's detailed investigations in a range of official and media archives. Viewfinder In this brilliant, concise and original study of British and American news media's reporting of the Spanish civil war, David Deacon reveals the extraordinarily rich tapestry of journalistic endeavour which Orwell's quip obscures. Deacon explores the subject thematically and with wonderful imaginative flair. -- Richard Lance Keeble, University of Lincoln European Journal of Communication David Deaon has written a book that is well-researched, clear, provocative and stimulating... a valuable contribution to the burgeoning historiogrpahy of Britain and the Spanish Civil War as well as an insightful media history that throws light on both the contemporary state of British media and its modern development. -- Lewis H. Mates Contemporary British History ...This is a very significant addition to the literature on interwar journalism, and it stands as a shining example of methodological rigour in the field of media history. -- Adrian Bingham Media History As well as presenting detailed analysis of British newspapers, Deacon's work samples the full spectrum of British media, effectively blending hard-edged media analysis with detailed cultural history! Deacon's book convincingly presents the 1930s as central to the formation of distinctly modern political practices and sensibilities. -- Ben Harker, University of Salford Socialist History BRITISH NEWS MEDIA AND THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR: TOMORROW MAY BE TOO LATE David Deacon, 2008 Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press Viii 196 pp., ISBN 978-0-7486-2748-6 (hbk GBP60.00) The public representation of the Spanish Civil War has, unsurprisingly, received considerable attention from scholars in recent years. The conflict attracted, after all, an impressive array of talented writers, journalists and photographers, from Ernest Hemmingway and George Orwell to Martha Gellhorn and Robert Capa; it prompted numerous artistic responses, including Picasso's masterpiece Guernica. It seemed, both at the time and in retrospect, a struggle with huge significance not just for the future of Spain, but for the future of the world: a battle of rival ideologies which could destabilize the balance of power in Europe and pave the way for a global war. Despite this ongoing interest, there has not been a comprehensive survey of the British media's coverage of the events in Spain. David Deacon's new volume fills this gap with great authority. It focuses not just on the content of the journalism but the conditions under which it was produced and the editorial pressures that shaped its presentation. It demonstrates that the British press was more uncertain and confused in its response to the civil war than has often been assumed; several newspapers shifted their positions significantly, and, in particular, reservations about Franco grew over time. Deacon suggests that, on balance, the Republican government won the media war, but ultimately 'the scale of its victory was insufficient' (171): it was not able to stir British opinion into demanding firmer action in its support, and hobbled by the Non-Intervention pact, it eventually succumbed to military defeat. The book's structure enables the reader to follow the complex journey that the 'news from Spain' took on its way to breakfast tables around Britain. The first substantive chapter compares the initially 'rigid and aggressive news management' of the Nationalists with the more 'permissive' approach of the Republicans (40); the greater freedom allowed to journalists, coupled with a more advanced communications infrastructure, encouraged more detailed and often more sympathetic coverage of Republican activities. If killings in Republican zones in the early months of the war were over-reported, the relative mobility of journalists enabled The Times' George Steer, among others, to be in place to witness the devastation at Guernica and to identify the perpetrators coverage which did incalculable damage to the Nationalists' reputation. Two further chapters on the experiences of journalists on the front lines reinforce the point that the views of the Anglo-American press contingent were noticeably inclined towards the Republican cause although if there was a widespread desire to support the defence of democracy, the vast majority of correspondents were deeply suspicious of the more revolutionary groupings working alongside the moderate government forces. Deacon also shows how female reporters, lacking the status of their male counterparts, were generally left to cover the impact of the warfare on ordinary citizens; he notes that their accounts were often given 'considerable prominence' in British newspapers (69), but he does not provide sufficient evidence to Media History, Vol. 16, No. 2, 2010 ISSN 1368-8804 print/1469-9729 online/10/020253 13 DOI: 10.1080/13688801003656355 Downloaded By: [Loughborough University] At: 13:50 8 April 2010 sustain his argument that this eyewitness testimony of civilian resolution in the facing of bombardment served to weaken the 'air fear' gripping Europe in the 1930s. But if journalists in Spain tended to favour the Republican position, there were significant countervailing pressures in Britain. In a chapter which draws extensively on the National Archives and the editorial archives of The Times, the Manchester Guardian and the BBC, Deacon demonstrates the ways in which the government largely...

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Descripción EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY PRESS, United Kingdom, 2009. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was reported by some of the most eminent journalists of the twentieth century and was the subject of reportage that still endures in public memory. However, these represent just a small fraction of the total news coverage of the war, raising the possibility that they provide a partial, even atypical, view of the international media s engagement with, and performance in, the conflict. This book provides the most extensive and detailed analysis of the reporting of the conflict ever undertaken, examining the personalities, routines, pressures and structures that shaped news coverage of the war in Britain as it unfolded. The book combines a comprehensive overview of the existing literature on the role of the news media in the conflict, with a vast amount of new evidence, gleaned from the author s detailed investigations in a range of official and media archives. Highlights include: *Analysis of the strategies used by Republican and Nationalist forces to control and manage international press opinion *Examination of journalists personal experiences in Spain, and how these affected their political opinions and professional values *Scrutiny of the pressures exerted by the British government on news correspondents, editors and proprietors as it sought to convince domestic and international opinion of the validity of its policy of international non-intervention in the war *A systematic analysis of actual news coverage of the conflict, examining the extent to which media evaluations and interpretations of the conflict altered as events unfolded. Written in a highly accessible manner, this book will appeal to a wide readership, including students and academics working in the fields of politics, history and cultural, communication and media studies, as well as any other readers interested in the history and legacy of the Spanish Civil War. Nº de ref. de la librería AA79780748627486

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Descripción EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY PRESS, United Kingdom, 2009. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was reported by some of the most eminent journalists of the twentieth century and was the subject of reportage that still endures in public memory. However, these represent just a small fraction of the total news coverage of the war, raising the possibility that they provide a partial, even atypical, view of the international media s engagement with, and performance in, the conflict. This book provides the most extensive and detailed analysis of the reporting of the conflict ever undertaken, examining the personalities, routines, pressures and structures that shaped news coverage of the war in Britain as it unfolded. The book combines a comprehensive overview of the existing literature on the role of the news media in the conflict, with a vast amount of new evidence, gleaned from the author s detailed investigations in a range of official and media archives. Highlights include: *Analysis of the strategies used by Republican and Nationalist forces to control and manage international press opinion *Examination of journalists personal experiences in Spain, and how these affected their political opinions and professional values *Scrutiny of the pressures exerted by the British government on news correspondents, editors and proprietors as it sought to convince domestic and international opinion of the validity of its policy of international non-intervention in the war *A systematic analysis of actual news coverage of the conflict, examining the extent to which media evaluations and interpretations of the conflict altered as events unfolded. Written in a highly accessible manner, this book will appeal to a wide readership, including students and academics working in the fields of politics, history and cultural, communication and media studies, as well as any other readers interested in the history and legacy of the Spanish Civil War. Nº de ref. de la librería AA79780748627486

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