The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2022

80 JULY-AUGUST 2022 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Indeed, Information at War , to quote a modernist bard, ends “not with a bang but a whimper,” offering little in the way of solutions, but much in the way of dis- may about the moral and ethical failures of conflict reporting. Seib correctly iden- tifies the growing presence of value judg- ments embedded in ostensibly objective journalism. At the same time, he holds the public accountable for its failure to take responsibility for its information consumption by seeking out multiple (responsible) sources and viewpoints. Seib is also more than a little dis- mayed by the digitally driven demo- cratization of the global media space, in which free and unmediated access to information both empowers and imperils. To wage war successfully, pessimistic take on what he sees as a fractured, polarized and essentially uncontrollable media environment leaves the reader adrift on the “wine- dark sea” of the information age. n Vivian S. Walker is executive director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. A retired Foreign Service officer, she serves as an adjunct professor at George- town University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and a faculty fellow at the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy. Previously she taught at the Central European University in Buda- pest, Hungary; the National War College in Washington, D.C.; and the National Defense College of the United Arab Emirates. She is a current member of the FSJ Editorial Board. a government must have the capacity to influence, if not control, the media ecosystem. But, as Seib notes, the com- petition for information domination does not necessarily benefit the public. The government seeks popular support for its policies, while the media seek to increase audience shares. The global public has, in the internet age, become directly involved in shaping these nar- ratives of conflict to its own ends. For a study focused largely on the current information environment, Seib’s decision to frame his text with the opening lines of Homer’s Iliad is telling. Ultimately, this meditation on the ten- sion between “information democracy” and “information anarchy” is more elegy than handbook. Seib’s fundamentally