ExcerptGlobal Media Go to War: The Role of News &
Entertainment Media During the 2003 Iraq War
Media Go to War is a collection of essays devoted
to coverage of the Iraq War, to be published by Marquette Books
in August 2004. TBS has selected the chapters for their relevance
to transnational broadcasting to and from the Arab World and
the editor, Ralph D. Berenger, provides the following original
Ralph D. Berenger, TBS contributing editor
every war journalists risk their lives to bring
perspectives on news events. In Afghanistan, for
example, casualties among journalists outnumbered
those of coalition forces in the first month of
fighting. In Iraq, where the frontline was often
uncertain, and the dangers often disguised, journalists
continued the tradition of going where the action
But this war was different. Often the action came
looking for journalists.
The following list of news reporters, cameramen,
and freelance writers who died in the line of duty
was compiled by Abdullah Al-Kindi and Ralph Berenger:
killed in the 2003 Iraq war
Lloyd, British ITV News, disappeared near Al-Zubayr
then declared dead March 22, 2003.
Paul Moran, freelance Australian, killed
March 22, 2003at a checkpoint when car bomb went
off near Gerdigo in northern Iraq.
Gaby Rado, correspondent for Britain's Channel
4 TV, fell to his death March 30, 2003 from the
roof of his hotel in Sulaymania in northern Iraq.
Kaveh Golestan, embedded freelance cameraman
for BBC, killed April 2, 2003, after stepping on
land mine near Kifri in northern Iraq.
Michael Kelly, Atlantic Monthly and The Washington
Post, killed April 3, 2003, while travelling with
infantry division outside of Baghdad
David Bloom, NBC correspondent, died April
6, 2003, due to illness.
Kamaran Abd al-Razaq Muhammad, translator
working for BBC, killed in missile attack April
6, 2003, in northern Iraq by "friendly fire."
Christian Liebig, reporter for German magazine
Focus, killed in missile attack April 7, 2003, outside
Baghdad while travelling with U.S. military.
Julio Anguita Parrado, El Mundo correspondent,
killed April 7, 2003, outside Baghdad while travelling
with U.S. military.
Tareq Ayoub, Al-Jazeera correspondent, killed
April 8, 2003, during attack on Al-Jazeera's office
José Couso, cameraman for Spain's Telecinco,
killed April 8, 2003, when U.S. shelled Palestine
Hotel in Baghdad.
Taras Protsyuk, Reuters cameraman, killed
April 8, 2003 when U.S. shelled Palestine Hotel
Mario Podesta, , correspondent for Argentina's
America TV, died April 15, 2003, in a car crash
while travelling to Baghdad from the Jordanian border.
Veronica Cabrera, freelance camerawoman for
Argentina's America TV, died April 15, 2003,
in a car crash while travelling to Baghdad from
the Jordanian border.
Elizabeth Neuffer, foreign correspondent
for the Boston Globe; died May 9, 2003, in a car
accident in Iraq.
Walid Khalifa Hassan Al-Dulami, translator
accompanying foreign correspondent for Boston Globe;
died May 9, 2003, in a car accident in Iraq.
Richard Wild, British freelance cameraman,
killed July 5, 2003, in central Baghdad.
Jeremy Little, Austrian journalist with NBC
News, died of post-operative complications July
6, 2003, days after grenade attack in Fallujah
Mazen Dana, Palestinian cameraman with Reuters,
killed August 18, 2003, while filming outside Baghdad's
Abu Gharaib prison.
Mark Fineman, Los Angeles Times correspondent
in Baghdad; died September 23, 2003, of an apparent
heart attack while waiting for an interview in the
office of the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC).
Shawkat,editor of weekly Bila Ittijah (Without
Direction), killed by gunmen October 28, 2003, in
Duraid Isa Muhammad, producer and translator
for CNN, killed January 27, 2004, in an ambush outside
Ali Abdul Aziz, cameraman for Dubai-based
al-Arabiya TV channel; killed by U.S. troops March
18, 2004, in central Baghdad.
Ali al-Khatib, journalist for Dubai-based
al-Arabiya TV channel; killed by U.S. troops March
18, 2004, in central Baghdad.
war has been as extensively reported as was the 2003 Iraq War.
mixtures of new and old media professional and amateur journalists
told the story of Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime's fall after
nearly a generation of iron-fisted rule. Thanks to the Internet,
more "reporters" and "commentators" than
ever examined, analyzed, praised, lambasted, speculated about
or criticized every byte of information, every pixel of image,
and every thread of uploaded commentary about global media behavior.
Iraq war was an artifact of its time. Communication satellites.
The 24-hour news cycle. A polarized world still trying to make
some sense of the events of September 11, 2001 (and America's
rage about it). The near Delphic predictions of a "Clash
of Civilizations." And, most importantly, transnational
media parity for Western and Middle Eastern audiences during
an event that affected them both. All was fertile ground for
media researchers who looked not only at the messages and messengers
but the effect they had on audiences.
Media Go to War was conceived before the first shots echoed
across the wind-swept Iraqi desert in March 2003. From the start,
only one title summed up what was happening: global news media
were at warnot only by reporting an international conflict
with global significance but with themselves in a battle for
audience acceptance, with their newsroom cultures that often
mediated news from the frontlines to fit editorial pre-conceptions,
with general and academic critics on all sides, and with the
very people they were trying to cover, at times with lethal
a war, even a high-tech one, is dangerous duty. Elevated media
risks in this war involved a variety of bifurcated side issues
such as religious misunderstandings; diverse, disputed, and
dysfunctional political ideologies; social, economic, and ethnic
inequities; differing cultural norms and values; and a rock-ribbed,
regional cynicism that nothing halal (1) could possibly
come out of the West thus dooming before they could start in
post-war Iraq any liberal democratic changes, including a free
press and elections. The battle for Arab hearts and minds was
over before the first shot was fired.
inception, what the war was called was problematical. Was it,
as Arab broadcasters said, "The War on Iraq," "The
Aggression on Iraq," "The Anglo-American War on Iraq,"
"The US Attack on Iraq," or was it "Gulf War
III?" For Americans the latter designation, though accurate,
was confusing. While Western media were apt to report the conflict
as "Gulf War II," that name reflected a particular
ethnocentrism for Arabs. They still remember the Iran-Iraq War
in the 1980's as "Gulf War I," perhaps choosing to
forget that both the 1967 and 1973 wars against Israel were
also Gulf wars in that Persian Gulf nations lined up against
Israel with the others in the region.
rate, since no Arab country openly supported the 2003 war (as
they had, however unenthusiastically, that of 1991), use of
the Gulf War designation here seemed inaccurate since it was
not a regional conflict, and the "US/UK-Iraq War"
appeared unwieldy. A more neutral "2003 Iraq War"
emerged as the top contender since it clearly differentiates
the previous conflict by year.
Players in this war were more-grizzled replicates of the 1991
Iraq War: another George Bush was in office (he had advised
his father in 1991). Back were Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald
Rumsfeld and a host of Gulf War policy veterans whose names
may never be made public. After a dozen inter-war years, junior
officers on both sides during the first Iraq war were now senior
officers in this one.
Of course, Saddam Hussein was back and so was the eloquent Iraqi
spokesman, Tariq Aziz, but in a less visible capacity. Early
in the war names and faces of the Baathist regime leaders would
become more familiar to the public than in the past war, thanks
to a Pentagon gimmick: decks of playing cards that entrepreneurs
quickly marketed over the Internet as war memorabilia. The press,
too, had stars reprising roles, some with different networks:
Christiane Amanpour was still with CNN doing field reports as
an embedded reporter; Robert Fisk for the Independent and John
Simpson for BCC covered the war in-country; John Burns was still
with the New York Times, reporting from Baghdad; Peter Arnette,
the slightly tarnished yet venerable media hero of the 1991
Iraq War, proved to be as controversial with NBC, who fired
him, as he was with CNN, who had also fired him; and all the
major American news anchors still around after the 1991 war
-ABC's Peter Jennings, CBS's Dan Rather and NBC's Tom Brokaw-made
pilgrimages to Iraq at one time or another. But there were new
media players as well, many of them from the Middle East.
the first invading/liberating US or UK soldier set foot in region,
the Arabic press in most of the region's 22 countries was brutal
and vocal in its assessment of the coming war, as several of
the following chapters will attest.
hostile Arab media variously framed the seemingly inevitable
conflict between the US/UK coalition and Iraq as a war to avenge
the Bush family honor; a ploy by "oil-rich" Bush to
control Iraqi petroleum output; an "ignorant" and
out-of-control "cowboy" Bush lashing out at terrorist
shadows and hurting innocents in the process; and an "evil"
if not "satanic" Bush doing the bidding of the Zionists.
The Middle East media was unrelenting in its pre-war, wartime,
and post-war criticism of the United States, and, in the Iraqi
context, the Blair government in the UK. In fact regular viewers
of Arab media are hard-pressed to recall any favorable stories
about the US over the past decade, including perfunctory, carefully
parsed, and brief sentiments following 9/11. The general consensus
thenand sometimes nowwas that Arabs were incapable
of the Twin Towers and Pentagon attacks, and some continue to
suggest that Israel was behind it all. That same level of denial
was expressed about Iraq's threat to the region, its WMD capabilities,
and, surprisingly, about how dangerous Saddam Hussein really
was to his neighbors. Arabs generally seemed disappointed about
the ease by which this war was prosecuted. Many wistfully predicted
a protracted war with thousands of American and British deaths.
Arab press readers-admittedly less than half the region's 307
million population are well attuned to charges that Israel is
the source of all malevolence in the Middle East. (2) The US,
since the late 1980's is supplanting the Jewish state as the
most evil entity because of its wealth, its assumed cultural
decadence, its military power and, above all, its perceived
blind support of Israel. Those sentiments bubble to the surface
in several chapters of the book.
too, conducted a rigorous propaganda campaign to gin up support
for war against Iraq among wobbly kneed allies. The propaganda
machine ground out stories, real and speculative, of Saddam
Hussein's intentions in the region, his financial support of
suicide bombers' families in Palestine, his continued threats
against Iraqi Kurds and Shiaas, his regime's alleged links to
Al-Qaeda cells and training centers in Iraq, his family's personal
extravagance while the average Iraqi suffered through painful
international sanctions, and, most importantly, his acquisition
of weapons of mass destruction and his willingness to use them
against enemies foreign and domestic.
Global Media Go to War
this book had several operational themes that fashioned themselves
Cross-disciplinary. Experts in fields other than journalism
and mass communication offer perspectives not normally found
in chapter collections. Contributions from different areas of
study would enliven the book, it was hoped.
Cross-cultural. Viewpoints of writers from nearly
all continents are represented in this volume, with emphasis
on Middle Eastern scholars and journalists, who not only examine
the war's impact on their region but on the "Other"
as well. Readers will be able to discern the various schemata
each writer brings to our understanding of what happened to
global media during the conflict.
Cross-generational. This project, assembled in
less than a year, involved studies by undergraduate and graduate
students, as well as some of the best-established scholars in
the international communication field. Young scholars were selected
for their energy and fresh perspectives on media; senior scholars
were chosen for their wisdom and experience.
Cross-media behavior. The over-riding theme of
this work is how media behaved before, during and after the
war. Behavior is critical because war puts lives at risk, potentially
hundreds of thousands of them if Saddam Hussein indeed had a
viable weapons of mass destruction program. To get stories inside
Iraq many journalists and TV crews gambled their lives-and some
of them lost. At least once person outside of the war zone,
Dr. David Kelley, Britain's WMD expert, might have been a direct
casualty of the media war behavior. Dr. Kelley allegedly committed
suicide when his personal and professional ethics rubbed against
BBC newsroom practices of the British Broadcasting Corporation,
who used him as a source for its stories. At least the Hutton
Report strongly suggested that early in 2004. (3)
General and student reader appeal. All of the
authors were asked to eschew academese and write their chapters
for general audiences. With that in mind, this work could be
acceptable as a classroom reader for courses in international
relations, political science, sociology, and, of course, Middle
East and mass communications studies. This edition should also
appeal to mass audiences interested in how news media-one of
their information connections to the war as it unfolded-behaved
during a major international event, and possibly, how they can
become media monitors themselves by using new media.
of the book
contains 34 essays, which includes the Preface, Foreword, Introduction,
Afterword and 30 chapters. The Preface and Foreword, written
by two world-renown media scholars, involve a dialogue about
media, government and war.
Cees J. Hamelink of the University of Amsterdam, argues that
during the 2003 Iraq War mainstream mass media from coalition
countries became tools of "propaganda" for the U.S.
and British governments and that there is little hope that will
change in future global conflicts. If mainly despair is left,
why preface this book?" he writes. A major reason is that
without such critical analyses as published in this book, the
situation might be a lot worse. In times of political insanity,
it is necessary and encouraging to find signals of intellectual
John C. Merrill, professor emeritus at the University of Missouri,
agrees with . Hamelink that scholars and citizens need to publish
"critical analyses," but one of the problems is "getting
average citizens to know about, even care about, the skewed
world the media are foisting upon them. They are so busy being
entertained by media that they know little or nothing about
their governments and their covert and overt activities. Such
a situation, of course, does not bode well for democracy."
Afterword, Kaarle Nordenstreng of the University of Tampere
in Finalnd renews a call for international media monitoring,
and proposes an international congress of media scholars to
collect the burgeoning number of academic studies on media behavior
to be issued in an annual report. He urges content analysis
as the favored methodology to explain what is being communicated
to whom in what channel.
is divided into six major sections: The Prelude to War, The
International War of Words, The War in the Coalition Press,
The War in Other Places; The War in Cyberspace, and The War
for Hearts and Minds.
I: The Prelude to War
six chapters survey the global mediascape before the war, and
how news and entertainment media in different parts of the world
cultivated their audiences and national policymakers to either
support or oppose the war.
Napoli studied media in two countries opposed to the war, France
and Egypt. Jinbong Choi used the diagnostic and heuristic tool
of framing to study the meanings of Bush's "axis of evil"
pronouncement. Because world audiences receive nearly all their
foreign news from international news agencies, Beverly Horvit
examined five of them and how they covered the coming war, with
some surprising results.
Gladney deconstructs Marshall McLuhan's "global village"
concept and finds it fragmenting into competing ideologies,
religious beliefs and cultures, each currently or potentially
supported by media. In a similar vein, Emmanuel C. Alozie's
study of print media in different Sub-Saharan countries finds
a mixture of distrust and disagreement with coalition goals,
while Stephen Quinn and Tim Walters relay how Al-Jazeera's impact
in the Middle East, even before the latest Gulf war, might be
more enduring than Western critics would like.
II: The World War of Words
Hall once wrote that "words have meanings" and the
book's second part tries to ascertain the meaning of words used
to prepare populations for war.
R. Kamalipour suggests how words-often reported uncritically
by journalists-create meaning for audiences. Jack Lule extends
the concept further when he follows the metaphors used in the
2003 Iraq War. Words played a role in how Turkey's media debated
what kind of cooperation, if any, that country should give the
United States, one of its most important allies. As the U.S.
reaction to Turkey's decision process grew critical, so did
the Turkish press of any help to the coalition at all, Dilruba
Al-Marashi, a young Iraqi-American doctoral student at Oxford,
explains how his academic paper purloined by the British government
on Iraq's alleged WMD capacity led to a brief (and at times
frustrating) career as international media pundit, while Andrew
Paul Williams et al., find late-night-TV comedy is serious business
when it comes to shaping public opinion.
III: The Coalition Press
examines how global media from Allied countries behaved. The
Washington Post's Howard Schneider reviews some of the war's
biggest press blunders and how the media dealt with them. Martin
Hirst and Robert Schutze investigate Rupert Murdoch's flagship
paper The Australian's support of the war; Kris Kodrich and
Sweety Law tackle the issue of how "newspapers of record"
in England and the US chose to report the WMD story. Steve Cooper
and Jim A. Kuypers compare reporting practices of embedded and
non-embedded journalists-with unexpected conclusions-and Maggy
Zanger reports behind the lines in Iraq on how "journos"
scratched for a story that never materialized.
IV: The War in Other Places
examines how television and print media in countries other than
the United States, Great Britain and Australia covered the war.
the major media in combatant countries covered the war story,
Christine Burchinger, Herman Wasserman, and Arnold de Beer investigated
how South African media struggled to make sense of the war and
gain a global perspective. Similarly, across the planet, Yoichi
Clark Shimatsu, followed how the "far-off war" was
reported in Hong Kong and in Mainland China.
Schleifer assessed the job of Middle East broadcasters, and
despite some errors of commission and omission, figures the
fledgling satellite news operations are on their way to professional,
credible news operations in a region unaccustomed to them. Catherine
Cassera and Laura Lengel see Al Jazeera's effect on public diplomacy
as similar to CNN's.
Fine looks at media coverage of the war in India, the world's
largest democracy, which should have been a huge supporter of
the coalition-but wasn't. She offers some suggestions why.
V: The War in Cyberspace
used the Internet during the 1991 Gulf War much less as a network
for sharing huge volumes of information. What a change a dozen
Hamdy and Radwa Mobarak set the tone for the sixth part by giving
an overview of the Web during the war, while Daniela Dimitrova,
Lynda Kaid and Andrew Paul Williams find varied news coverage
on the Internet during the war's first hours. Lisa Brooten explores
the phenomenon of Indymedia.com, and wonders if we are witnessing
the future of news-interactive, sensational, instantaneous and
opinionated. David Weinstock and Timothy Boudreau offer free
advice to news organizations on how to capture and retain young
is a big, uncharted place, several authors found. Barbara K.
Kaye and Thomas J. Johnson, for example, look at do-it-yourself
publishing of Weblogs, including the widely followed Baghdad
adventures of an Iraqi blogger, "Salam Pax," during
VI: The War for Hearts and Minds
effort by the U.S. and U.K. governments to win over a skeptical
population in the Middle East, reversing years of official Western
neglect and indifference which allowed political Islam to take
root without critical assessment; which often enacted policies
blindly supportive Israel; which bolstered increasingly repressive
regimes that encouraged their media to scapegoat the West and
camouflage their own shortcomings; and which influenced some
intellectuals whose positions at governmental institutions depend
on toeing the party line. This section examines public opinion
in the region.
Khoury-Machool shows why the U.K./U.S. coalition met with disbelief
and resistance in the Arab media. How did young people view
the war? Two chapters concentrated on the effects of media in
the US and in the United Arab Emirates. Glenn Sparks and Will
Miller investigated the emotional effects of US children during
time of war, while Muhammad Ayish researched attitudes of students
at Sharjah University about the 2003 Iraq War.
Finally, Abdullah Al-Kindi looks at the war against media and
the possible effect on journalists' behavior because of it,
with the ultimate goal of controlling not only what reporters
said about the war but what their viewers, readers and surfers
thought about the conflict.
background photo, like the Arab region itself, is enigmatic.
It is either a sunset over the desert, signaling the end of
day and a journey into darkness; or it is a sunrise, presaging
a new day with fresh opportunities. Like the merits of the 2003
Iraq War, the reader is left to decide.
No other photographed incident during the 2003 Iraq War reverberated
around the Arab world more than the picture of Marine Corporal
Edward Chin draping the American flag over the statue head of
Saddam Hussein April 9, 2003. To Arabs on television and over
the Internet, the act was a symbol of American arrogance, disrespect,
Arab humiliation, and abusive use of military might. Most Americans,
on the other hand, swelled with patriotic pride and thought
the picture illustrated a perfectly fitting end to the Baathists'
and Saddam Hussein's viselike grip on tyrannical power. One
picture, two diametrically opposed audience effects. Such is
the reality-if not the surreality-of reporting war in the Middle
East, and the raison d'être of this collection of essays
means in Arabic "accepted by Islam." The opposite
is haram, which means religiously forbidden.
Human Development Report 2002: Creating Opportunities for Future
Generations. New York: UNDP, pp. 143, 151.
Hutton was commissioned by the British government to look into
the July 18, 2003, death of Dr. Kelley. The report, issued in
February 2004, took the BBC and its reporter Andrew Gilligan
to task while clearing the Blair administration of any wrongdoing.
It was widely known that Dr. Kelley was the source of anti-administration
leaks doubting Iraq's WMD program (See Report of the Inquiry
into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Dr David Kelly
C.M.G. by Lord Hutton. Available at http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk/content/report/)