Examining The Media-Military Relationship


In May, Susan Eisenhower moderated a panel at the first Civilian-Military Safe Havens Conference in Pocantico Hills, New York. The conference was organized by The Eisenhower Project and The Open Society Institute in collaboration with members of the Department of Social Sciences, United States Military Academy at West Point.

General John J. Sheehan and Dan Rather joined Ms. Eisenhower for the panel, entitled “From Birth of a Nation to YouTube: The Media-Military Relationship Through Time.” A summary of their discussion:

From the earliest joint ventures between the American military and media to the more strained years of Vietnam up to the recent collaborations of the Iraq War, the military-media relationship has been an ever-changing one. Against this historical backdrop, this panel will explore challenging questions about the pros and cons of contemporary war coverage — from the benefits of transparency to the challenging ethical implications of embedding and the inevitable reality that military personnel who appear as experts on television and radio must strike a balance between providing independent expertise and adhering to official talking points. What better avenues for collaboration may be established between officers and their media counterparts in order to give voice to professional military expertise and concerns on aspects of on public policy while maintaining a high regard for the vital security, hierarchy, and safety of military operations.

Photo by Joe Posner/The Eisenhower Project

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