The Media and Operation Just Cause in Panama
Keywords:Media and Foreign Policy, Panama, Operation ‘Just Cause’
AbstractAt a time when the Cold War was ‘agonizing’ and the ‘new world order’ taking a life of its own, the government of the US found new arguments in favor of its December 1989 invasion of Panama. Like any other military action, operation ‘Just Cause’ was preceded by a well-orchestrated public relations campaign meant to gain the support of the US Congress, press, and public opinion and, thus, to generate a national consensus over the administration’s most crucial decisions. As far as the press of such a democratic political system is concerned, one would expect it to act independently of the government’s will by putting the official pretexts and objectives for invasion under serious questioning -before accepting or rebutting them- looking for alternative sources of information, and instituting the conditions for a fair debate -by offering the opportunity to several conflicting opinions to argue and debate and then come out with the most convincing conclusions. In order to check if the US mainstream media acted as an independent organ during the Panamanian episode, I will examine their treatment of the official objectives for intervention, their coverage of the military operation, and their assessment of the invasion with regard to international law.
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