"We seem, as it were, to have conquered and peopled half the world in a fit of absence of mind."
- Sir John Robert Seeley, The Expansion of England (1883)
The media does a lot mind-reading when it comes to U.S. foreign policy. The idea that the United States and, often, its allies operate in “good faith” is taken for granted for most of the American press - so much so that we don’t really think much about it.
On this episode, we explore the media's commitment to the narrative of "United States as reluctant warrior," whose leadership and decision-making always has the "best intentions." We also examine the new Ken Burns and Lynn Novick series on Vietnam with our guest, Professor Hannah Gurman, who recently published an excellent article in The Washington Post, "As we rethink the Vietnam War, we have to grapple with its racial implications."
An historian of the United States with a PhD in literary studies, Prof. Gurman's research focuses on national-security information as a site of political contest that reflects deeper struggles over the nature and meaning of US national security. Her book, The Dissent Papers: The Voices of Diplomats in the Cold War and Beyond, was published in 2012 by Columbia University Press. She is also editor of Hearts and Minds: A People’s History of Counterinsurgency (The New Press, 2013). Her work has appeared in American Quarterly, Diplomatic History, and the Journal of Contemporary History, as well as The Nation, Salon, and Huffington Post.
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Citations Needed is a media criticism podcast, hosted by Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi, political commentators and media analysts working to call bullshit on (usually corporate) media’s ubiquitous reliance on and regurgitation of false and destructive narratives, tropes and stereotypes.
Citations Needed is produced by Florence Barrau-Adams. Our Production Consultant is Josh Kross. The theme is ‘Nonphenomenal Lineage’ by Grandaddy.