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Selling “Star Wars” in American Mass Media

  • William M. Knoblauch
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of the Media book series (PSHM)

Abstract

In March of 1983, Ronald Reagan introduced his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a program to intercept incoming ballistic missiles in space. Dubbed “Star Wars” by skeptics, SDI prompted a media battle—in print, television commercials, documentaries, and even a mail-in sweepstakes—between two non-government organizations: High Frontier, which believed missile defense was achievable, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, which criticized Star Wars at every turn. Together, these NGOs shaped public perceptions of Star Wars’ promise before the White House could. Alarmed at this media war, the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization had to fight back with its own media campaign to ensure the short-term survival of SDI. In the process, it abandoned Reagan’s vision and pursued continued congressional funding.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Finlandia UniversityHancockUSA

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