Director Mark Daniels made a French produced documentary mapping media strategies of showing war in American televisions. The first battlefield photograph reports on the Civil War – at that time it was as shaking as later the first execution of a Vietnamese prisoner broadcasted by TV directly to the American living rooms.
The truth is, however, that such openness is not at all typical for American war reporting. The greatest television boom and the War in Vietnam coincided. The war pictures increased the TV ratings, and later, based on them, people demonstrated against the absurdity of sacrificing American soldiers to another country.
Samples of what was broadcasted at that time in the U.S. and in Europe are very different and show how American news reporting tried to pacify the U.S. people by persuading them that the army was undefeatable, that soldiers were heroes fighting against a faceless enemy nobody could identify with.
To prevent leakage of unwanted pictures of war, the Pentagon has been controlling the movement of journalists ever since under the pretext of security. American administration learnt a lesson in this war: media began making it more and more complicated to get to war zones. News reports are more and more infested with Hollywood stereotypes of action movies, which serve very well to mythicise the army as a concentration of the American strength. An ordinary American sees war as an epic war film.
Enemy Image does not provide only the picture of the USA – it is of timeless and global significance and it concerns all the different conflicts of the second half of 20th century.