Week of October 1-8, 2001

Political management of war coverage…As the U.S. prepares to go to war with those who orchestrated the recent terrorist bombings on its soil, the world waits with bated breath to find out what is next. However, as in the days leading up to the Persian Gulf War, there is a distinct lack of media coverage of the American military’s preparations for the impending war and its plan of attack. SFU communication professor and news analyst Bob Hackett says security issues aren’t the only reasons for the scant coverage. "If and when military action begins, judging from the experience of the Gulf War, the U.S. government is likely to selectively release — or withhold — information not only for military security reasons, but also for public opinion management. In the meantime, the U.S. media are generally framing the crisis as a narrative in which war is inevitable." Hackett adds the American media is a willing vehicle for its government’s communication strategy because "it’s under public pressure to show it’s on side with the American government. Plus the media still haven’t recovered from the so-called Vietnam Syndrome." Hackett has written on the 1991 Gulf War. He is also working on an article about how Canadian journalism may be influenced by the current jingoism of American media.

Bob Hackett, 604-291-3863, robert_hackett@sfu.ca

Recipe for ruin or riches?…The B.C. Liberal government’s recent announcement of sweeping cuts of up to 50 percent to most of its ministries’ budgets has sparked more predictions of economic doom and gloom from labour leaders and political opponents and analysts. SFU business professor Lindsay Meredith says the provincial government is "caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Normally tax cuts, such as the Liberals’, would stimulate the economy. But with the global economy already in the tank they won’t work." Meredith adds, laying off people in an already soft economy will only deepen B.C.’s impending economic recession. However, SFU economist Richard Harris maintains the Liberals’ plan for economic recovery is a tried and true recipe. "Virtually every successful fiscal restructuring of small highly open economies has followed a similar pattern," says Harris. Among the measures that fit the pattern, he adds, are cutting taxes, reducing the size of government and making education the major exception to cutting government expenditure.

Richard Harris, 604-291-3795; richard_harris@sfu.ca
Lindsay Meredith, 604-291-3653; meredith@sfu.ca

Peace award recipient to examine arms race…
Longtime Liberal MP Lloyd Axworthy is this year’s recipient of the Gandhi-inspired Thakore Foundation Visiting Scholar award for his contribution towards eliminating land minds, and other work as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He’ll receive the award on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. at SFU’s Images Theatre, Burnaby campus. Axworthy is now director and chief executive officer of the Liu Centre for the Study of Global Issues at UBC. Oct. 3, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Halpern Centre, Burnaby campus) he will participate in a panel on The Future of the Arms Race. Other panelists include SFU political scientist Doug Ross, a professor of international relations and strategic studies who specializes in international arms control and disarmament issues. He is also an expert on the United Nations, which is meeting this week on terrorism.

Don Grayston, humanities, 604-291-5516; donald_grayston@sfu.ca

Doug Ross, 604-291-4782; douglas_ross@sfu.ca

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