Erik Durschmied will talk about manipulation (sometimes excusable and sometimes not) both ways: politicians, military and press, the “spin war” and “info war”, with words as weapons of war, the mind of the war reporter and his influence on the general public: what do we see after the weather report in the morning (shall we support the war effort of the nation)? His reflections include personal examples – the dangers war correspondents have to live through (“Get in, get it, get out, and please try not to get killed, it makes for bad reading”) – and historical cases.
Erik Durschmied, born in Vienna in 1930, emigrated to Canada in 1952, where he studied at McGill University. In 1958, he shot the first and only film about Fidel Castro in the mountains of the Sierra Maestre. Thereafter, he worked for the BBC from 1959 until 1971, and later for CBS. As a TV correspondent he interviewed, among many others, John F. Kennedy, Salvador Allende, David Ben Gurion, and Saddam Hussein. For his documentaries “The Seven Hundred Millions” and “Hill 943” he received an Academy Award. As a war correspondent, he reported from Vietnam (1961–1970), and later from Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. He shot films for NATO and National Geographic. He developed the series “Die Welt des GEO” for UFA (Germany). He lectures at several US universities and at the US Military Academy at West Point, and is a Lecturing Professor at the Austrian Military Academy in Vienna.
Selected publications: Shooting Wars: My Life as a War Cameraman, From Cuba to Iraq, New York 1991 (Ger.: Shooting Wars: Mein Leben als Kriegberichterstatter zwischen Kuba und Irak, Wien 2004); The Hinge Factor: How Chance and Stupidity have Changed History, New York 2000 (Ger.: Der Hinge-Faktor: Wie Zufall und menschliche Dummheit Weltgeschichte schreiben, Wien 1998); The Weather Factor: How Nature has Changed History, London 2000 (Ger.: Als die Römer im Regen standen: Der Einfluss des Wetters auf den Lauf der Geschichte, Bergisch Gladbach 2002).