Research Paper: Manipulation of Media Coverage

Pages: 10 (3487 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Communication - Journalism  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] The fact of matter is that the image of the destruction of the statue of a man who was believed to be an oppressive ruler was portrayed as the most appropriate indication of the end of the war and the start of the liberation process in the region. Most of the presenters on these news channels widely and strongly claimed that the conflict was at its completion stages and the effect of such an extensive claim was that the overall coverage of conflicts and war tactics within the region were then decreased by a large percentage over not only the aforementioned channels but other media outlets as well. Most of the media outlets portrayed that all of the efforts made by the troops form that point on were based on the liberation of the area and not based around warring tactics.

It is important to note here that this media projection and approach did end the Iraq war on the political front irrespective of whether it was over on the battlefield. Even though, the overall representation of the destruction of the statue was a false pretense by the media and did not necessarily bear the truth, the fact still remains that it was the media and its coverage that allowed the war in Iraq become a less important topic or news in the short run of things.

Another perception that the media was influential in portraying was the attitude that the Iraqi natives had towards the American troops. All of the news that embedded reporters aired as well as all the interviews of the troops that were taken always aimed to exhibit that the American troops were in truth welcomed by the natives and these natives wanted the American troops to free them off the oppressive rule that they were living under. This was perhaps the one positive beat that the media played when covering the war on Iraq and this alone was one of the reasons why many members of the global community were able to bear the continuation of the intervention. Again, the truth of the matter is not clear but the media had the power to manipulate the coverage that they gave the Iraq war and hence indirectly manipulate and influence the global opinion on a large scale.

The above explanations of the manipulations of media also exemplify two relational theories of media i.e. The news frames and the news agenda. Both the agenda of a news story and the framing of it are interdependent and influential on each other. The fact of the matter is that the news frame of a story can change the future agendas that would be presented about the story in the future. This simply means, taking the above examples into context, the overall news frame that the war had technically ended in Iraq with the destruction of Hussein's statue structured the news agendas of the media to shift from focusing on the conditions of the Iraqi natives and the overall updates on the Iraqi conflict and focus on other issues like the economy or the banking systems.

Of course, the media is not the only player in the creation of this image. The U.S. government was the first to deign the destruction of the statue of Hussein as a sign of the accomplishment of their goals and that is what they projected in the media through speeches. From a theoretical perspective, this study adds to a growing literature exploring the relationship between news frames and news agendas. This was immediately logically adopted by the media and projected the long-drawn-out victory was finally complete.

There have been many empirical studies done on the media input and the government investments on how they are projected in the media. The above illustration of the manipulation is one of the significant practical proofs that the U.S. government did take the input of the media on the Iraq war very seriously and wanted to somewhat control the overall context and extent that it was covered by the media. Furthermore, the entire approach of the U.S. government towards the media and its input is also significantly important for the media students to analyze if they want to clearly understand the impact that news frame can and does have on the overall news agenda in the short and the long run.

One of the strongest inputs that the media has had during the wars, especially during the Iraq war, is the use of embedding reporting. There are many prominent leaders and individuals who have had to say a lot on the importance of the embedded reporting in giving media the kind of power that it has over the coverage of wars now.

For example a case study conducted by Columbia University's Project for Excellence in Journalism claimed that the nature of embedded reports is "largely anecdotal. [They were] combat-focused, and mostly live and unedited. Much [of the reporting] lacks context but is usually rich in detail. It has all the virtues and vices of reporting only what you can see."

Also the Chief of the British General Staff, General Sir Mike Jackson, is reported to have said that the embedded reporting is able to project opinions and situations that "are no more than snapshots at a particular time and a particular place. Dramatic they may be, but frankly they tell you very little, if anything at all, about the progress of the campaign at a strategic level."

Furthermore, Walter Cronkite after analyzing the embedding structure within Iraq during the Iraq war as well as the approach that the U.S. government had in Afghanistan and Kuwait before the 9/11 attacks claimed that "The principal advantage [of embedding] is that it is 180 degrees better than the blackout the military enforced during the first Gulf War."

One of the strategies that the U.S. government used in the Iraq war to keep the media in the loop of what was going on was the use of daily and weekly press conferences that the held at the Central Command offices (CENTCOM) in Qatar and at the Pentagon. They held these conferences for the American, British as well as all foreign press in order to control the projections and speculations that the media made on the process of the Iraq war and conflict.

Ralph Peters in one of his reports was able to strategize the way the governments could in the future limit or control the context of the media coverage and not let it entail the approach and the context that the media had in the war on Iraq or more specifically the conflict at Fallujah in May 2004. He claims that the main weapon the governments had was to "speed the kill.... We must direct our doctrine, training, equipment, organization, and plans toward winning low-level fights much faster. Before the global media can do what enemy forces cannot do and stop us short. We can still win the big campaigns. But we're apt to lose thereafter, in the dirty end-game fights."

Conclusion

Throughout this paper we have highlighted the media coverage and manipulation of the war in Iraq and how the media has been able to control and influence the global perception and opinion of it. The media is now an important non-state party in the global affairs and hence has tremendous influence on the overall ebb and flow of information with the global community. This ebb and flow of communication was the main reason that it has been used by many governments as a tool of war.

However for the United States this empowerment of the media as a tool of war backfired as they faced open negative and damaging reports from the embedded reporters as well as many media analysts. The fact is that the warring tactics and methodologies have evolved with time and the battles that are now being fought are not only being fought on the battle field, they are being fought at the global political front as well and this is why the media and its influence on the global community has been such a hassle for the U.S. government when tackling the war in Iraq.

The legal rules and regulations of the engagement of war have changed drastically in the last 10 decades and have become more inclusive of the roles of non-state actors and severely damaging strategies. The fat is that now the global communities need to step up and clearly lay down the extent and context of everything that is going to have an effect on them n the long-term. The Iraq war, the U.S. strategies and the media coverage of those strategies needs to serve as an example to many to redesign not only the legal rule of engagement but also legal extent of the media's intervention on reporting the incidents and strategies of an on0going war.

References

Aday, S., Livingston, S., & Hebert, M. Embedding the truth: A cross-cultural analysis of objectivity and television coverage of the Iraq War.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Manipulation of Media Coverage."  Essaytown.com.  November 20, 2008.  Accessed November 15, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/manipulation-media-coverage-during/31430.