The Effect of the Media during the Iraq War
After the tragedy of September 11th, 2001, the American people looked to their leader, President George W. Bush, to get them through this horrific time. After almost two years, President Bush decided to invade the country of Iraq on March 19th, 2003, starting a war that would last almost a decade (CNN.com). The media coverage of the war that was shown throughout the U.S imitated the idea that the war was positive and showed a pro-war point of view. Due to the majority of Americans only receiving information from a handful of news outlets, the public’s opinion on war was influenced by the media being broadcasted. Even before the announcement by the President that the U.S would invade Iraq; the media was responsible for portraying Saddam Hussein to be a danger to America as well as its national security, even though he had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks. Many people either did not realize or did not care that the information media outlets were reporting came from somewhere within the U.S government. During this time, technology was booming which allowed the war to be shown on internet sites making it the first war ever covered online. Due to development of technology, any information regarding the war was aired rapidly. The advancements in technology created an atmosphere where the public’s opinion, idea, and thoughts were heavily persuaded by the coverage of the media. The invasion of Iraq along with the overwhelming attention the media provided showed how the media’s role during the war affected the public opinion of the United States citizens.
During the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the threat Iraq potentially was viewed as on the U.S was not acknowledged by the people or by media outlets. President Bush wanted the public’s support in regards to the invasion of Iraq which they built off of the portrayal of the Hussein administration. With the support of government institutions such as Congress; they began a substantial public relations campaign (Hiebert). The Christian Science Monitor stated that, “Journalist admit they rely too much on U.S officials and military protection in gathering information” which makes it more common for the media to report stories that are influenced by the government or the military (Five Years On: media’s role in Iraq). This gives media outlets the power to influence public opinion. The majority of the public did not have specific involvement that would have an effect of their attitude on the war. In 2003, it was reported that 89 percent of Americans received the bulk on their facts regarding the war from the television (PewResearch). This was proof that government institutions were successful in shaping the public’s opinion by the significant use of the media. The beginning of 2003 showed specific coverage on the war which supported the media that helped President Bush, along with his administration, in their efforts to invade Iraq. Surprisingly, the media failed to show the opinions and debate of other government officials that were opposed the war which left the public with only one viewpoint (Kamiya). The information that was broadcasted by the media aided the thought that the invasion of Iraq was essential in order to maintain national security. Media coverage about the war was extremely selective. This steered the belief that the media actively created the support for President Bush’s policies. Since the beginning, media has always had the task to examine material in order to provide the public with the truth. Yet in the era of the Iraq War, the media reported information that was created by powerful government officials who made false accusations (Kahn). The government had the capability to influence the public by using different forms of propaganda which shows how public opinion was altered. People believe that the media endorsed a pro-war agenda by primarily referring back to the Bush administration and other pro-war outlets....
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