The Failure of Journalism during the Civil War in El Salvador

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The Failure of Journalism during the Civil War in El Salvador


The Civil War in El Salvador was an event that most individuals misunderstood. A twelve year conflict and a power struggle that claimed to keep communism out of El Salvador killed 75,000 people and the whole story still remains untold. The Civil War in El Salvador was a conflict that roughly started in 1980 and ended with the peace accords in 1992. These dates are rough because there were many conflicts before 1980 and even after the peace accords were signed in 1992 the “death squads [1] ” were still active every now and again. With respect to United States involvement, the reason the United States was initially involved was to block communist rule from spreading to
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Many reporters lacked the initiative to investigate the causes of the war and so this trend of general ignorance lasted throughout the twelve years. Tumultuous times for years before 1980, had led to the eruption of this deadly conflict. A generally unstable Central America had caused major rifts in almost all the small countries of this area. For the general American public this meant more conflict in Central America with even less understanding caused by poor reports.

Mark Pedelty, who wrote War Stories: The Culture of Foreign Correspondents, explains in a chapter entitled “Objective Journalism” of the ways in which American correspondents are taught to report. Reports in newsmagazines in America are much different from everywhere else in the world. For America “objectivity remains the standard by which journalists are judged,” and this means journalists strive to obtain balance and fairness (Pedelty 171). Pedelty argues that objectivity is a utopian goal which is impossible to obtain, and secondly, objectivity and balance are two things that should not play a role in the reporting a journalist does. In countries all over the world newspapers and magazines are based on political lines and are biased in favor of their own viewpoints and agendas. Pedelty claims that these types of journalists, who report according to their own view points, in fact produce better reports that those Americans who strive for objectivity…

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