“You cannot wage a war without rumors, without media, without propaganda. Any military planner who plans a war, and doesn’t put media, propaganda on top of his agenda, is a bad military,” says Al Jazeera senior producer, Samir Khader.
In wars, image assumes iconic status. The coverage of the bombing of Baghdad during the first Persian Gulf War put CNN on the media map. Today, the spread of digital technology means that an image can be distributed worldwide within seconds. But are we better informed?
You’ve got to see it to believe it’ but should Americans really trust their eyes?
The complexity of war coverage in the news and press media – does America really get the full picture from American foreign reporting on the war with Iraq?
Images can end wars. At least that’s the contention of Vietnam War veteran Larry Stimeling who says on his website “The United States ended the war in Vietnam, not because of defeat on the battlefield, but because of photographs that turned America’s stomach”. His message highlights the power of the picture, and indivertibly harks back to American coverage of the Vietnam War. So where in the press are the My Lai images from the war in Iraq?
Despite ongoing violence in Iraq, the American media does not fully report the civilian casualties or the deaths of US soldiers. Statistics are printed like test scores in press reports, but with no photo there is no meaning. Yet as the conflict continues the mood of the nation is changing, is America waking up to the reality of war? How has the American news and press media been giving a different representation on the war with Iraq? And what are the implications for news reporting and war journalism in the media?
War media has certainly changed in the past 40 years. Gone are the days when CNN was the only news channel able to dedicate 24 hour of news coverage to a live war. Thanks to deregulation and improvements in communication – satellite and cable channels the war against Iraq has received saturated coverage across all major networks. Despite this magnitude of information, America may not be any better informed…