Competing Messages: Mass Media Effects on Recruiting

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Competing Messages: Mass Media Effects on Recruiting

This study examines how the mass media’s portrayal of the military, including the war in Iraq, affects U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps recruiting. A telephone survey of households in Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas was conducted to measure parents and young adults’ exposure to information about the military in various media sources and how much attention they paid to those sources of information for information about the military.  This study was hampered by a small sample size (N=119) that limits the ability to claim significant findings for several hypotheses. However, the study did uncover a pattern that indicated that greater use of newspapers and entertainment television reduced chances of young adults joining the military, whereas use of movies depicting the military enhanced the likelihood of joining. Also, media use predicted people’s attitudes about the continued U.S. military presence in Iraq.

Jason Bortz, Natalie Granger, Nathaniel Garcia, Brandan W. Schulze, Mark Mackowiak, Victoria Jennings, Jon McMillan, Debbie Allen
University of Oklahoma