‘Punch’s Heirs’ Between the (Battle) Lines: Satirical Journalism in the Age of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905
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Roy A. Roberts (1887–1967), president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors during WWII and editor of the Kansas City Star once stated: ‘Keeping the home front unbroken (…) is the newspapers’ first function in war’. For this veteran journalist ‘to keep the home front unbroken’ meant to mobilise and strengthen the civil community spirit during wartime. The newspaper as a mass medium bundles the thoughts of individuals, skilfully channelling them in the desired way. In times of military conflict it can create strong bonds among the population behind the lines of the battlefronts and solidarity with the soldiers by underlining the legitimacy of waging a war. Here, the cultivation of images, particularly satirical images, is crucial. Rune Ottosen has pointed out that journalism in ‘times of high tension’ seems almost impossible without the presentation of images of the enemy. Similarly, Heikki Luostarinen has identified propagandistic mockery of the enemy as ‘a reflection of the actual tension and conflict between states and as a way of creating unity in a state and legitimizing its rulers’.