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Title: Gentlemen of the Press: Post-World War II Foreign Policy Reporting From the Washington Community
Authors: McGarr, Kathryn Jane
Advisors: Zelizer, Julian E.
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: Cold War
press corps
World War II
Subjects: History
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: “Gentlemen of the Press: Post-World War II Foreign Policy Reporting From the Washington Community,” rethinks the role that print journalism played in creating a Cold War consensus about American foreign policy. By creating one conversation for public consumption and tolerating another behind closed doors, reporters in the capital created an appearance of consensus about foreign policy that for decades shaped American international relations—most significantly that, after World War II, the United States would have to “win the peace,” a phrase and idea soon replaced with that of waging a Cold War. I contribute a new element to the historiography of the Cold War by emphasizing the importance of World War II experiences to the post-war diplomatic press corps, as well as the social and professional spaces in which they operated. The exclusive information economy operating on the ground in the capital limited dissent about the government’s foreign policy decisions. In paying particular attention to the social world that fostered consensus reporting and the role of fellowship, expressed through whiteness and masculinity, I contribute to ongoing scholarly discussions about gender and foreign policy as well as communications scholarship on the sphere of consensus. While some observers have written about “boys on the bus,” or “pack journalism” in campaign coverage that limited independence of thought, they have failed to understand how daily life in Washington created a much larger and more permanent consensus. I also examine how war institutionalized journalistic practices and norms that continue to the present day. I trace the roots of “background sessions” between reporters and officials to World War II, when the government took reporters into confidence on war-related matters, and kept them there as the Cold War necessitated limiting the circulation of information. The ambivalence reporters felt about whether the Cold War was peacetime created tension between their obligations to be good reporters and their obligations to be good citizens in an unprecedented, nuclear era.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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