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British news media, war and theory in the 2003 invasion of Iraq

This book analyses British news media coverage of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It describes the analytical framework that serves as the basis for theoretically informed and systematic analysis of wartime media performance. The book synthesises a range of models, hypotheses and explanatory variables to set out a framework composed of three models of news media performance: the elite-driven model, the independent model and the oppositional model. It provides three case studies which, in different ways, illuminate each model of news media performance in wartime. The three case studies include the case of Jessica Lynch, the case of Ali Abbas and the case of the anti-war movement. The book then presents an account of how the relationship between foreign policy, news media and war might be expected to operate, based on current theoretical understanding. In order to place British coverage of the invasion in context, the book offers brief summaries of the structure and character of Britain's television news services and its press. The book provides an analysis of the ways in which the news media's visual depictions of the war reinforced supportive coverage. It is devoted to documenting and analysing evidence for negotiated and oppositional coverage. The book also examines the representation of civilian casualties, military casualties and humanitarian operations across both television and press, three subject areas that generated a good deal of media criticism.

Jessica Lynch, Ali Abbas and the anti- war movement
Piers Robinson, Peter Goddard, Katy Parry, Craig Murray, and Philip M. Taylor

7 Case studies from the invasion of Iraq: Jessica Lynch, Ali Abbas and the anti-war movement Introduction Here we provide a focused analysis of three case studies, which serve to represent the three differing modes of news media performance in wartime, as well as shedding more light on the news-making process. The Jessica Lynch case study, involving the ‘dramatic’ rescue of a US ‘prisoner of war’, highlights just how compliant and deferential news media can be in wartime and can be viewed as an ‘ideal type’ example of supportive coverage. The case of Ali Abbas

in Pockets of resistance
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Patterns of support, negotiation and opposition
Piers Robinson, Peter Goddard, Katy Parry, Craig Murray, and Philip M. Taylor

Oppositional model Sky, ITV, BBC Sun, Mail, Times, Telegraph Battle, justifications for war (esp. humanitarian) Channel 4 Mirror, Independent, Guardian Civilian casualties, military casualties, humanitarian operations, law and order Ali Abbas Mirror, Independent, Guardian Civilian casualties, military casualties, humanitarian operations, law and order Ali Abbas Jessica Lynch, anti-war movement Jessica Lynch case study provides an ‘ideal type’ example of the propensity of news media to champion ‘good news’ stories from the battlefront; moreover, it highlights the

in Pockets of resistance
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Piers Robinson, Peter Goddard, Katy Parry, Craig Murray, and Philip M. Taylor

oppositional models. Chapter 7 delves further into our analysis of news media coverage to provide three case studies which, in different ways, illuminate each model of news media performance in wartime and serve to strengthen some of the key findings emerging from our study. We examine a case in which news media were heavily supportive of the coalition (the case of Jessica Lynch), one where a more independent and critical line was taken (the case of Ali Abbas, who was maimed in a coalition airstrike) and one in which the news media’s attitude to outright opponents of the war

in Pockets of resistance
Leslie C. Green

wrong when they have killed severely wounded members of the adverse party whose condition has been incurable and the killing has been committed to shorten suffering and put the victim out of his misery. A serious incident relating to the immunity of a hospital and its personnel arose in 2003 during the early days of the campaign against Iraq. US Army private Jessica Lynch of the 507th Ordnance Maintenance

in The contemporary law of armed conflict
Piers Robinson, Peter Goddard, Katy Parry, Craig Murray, and Philip M. Taylor

ambushed near the city on the same day. Five members of the division were taken alive and shown on Iraqi TV bloodied and beaten, an incident that gave rise to international condemnation. Also captured was Jessica Lynch (the subject of a case study in Chapter 7), who was retrieved from a Nasiriyah hospital on 1 April. Significant pauses when frontline troops were resupplied, together with bad weather during the early part of the campaign, introduced delays and some uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of military progress. This was particularly the case in the second

in Pockets of resistance
Ahdaf Soueif

the story of Private Jessica Lynch and creating platforms for them such as the American-financed Iraqi TV station, al-Hurra, and radio station, Radio Sawa. Inventing false narratives for the enemy through the activities of agencies like MEMRI, 26 and the use of what Hamid Dabashi has called ‘The Comprador Intellectual’, the Arab or Muslim intellectual who doubles as a ‘native informant’ and utilizes discussion of a negative practice from ‘home’ to discredit the entire culture. Discrediting anyone who points to unwelcome facts by using labels such

in ‘War on terror’
Emma Louise Briant

key spokesman on the Jessica Lynch story, held up as an example of Iraq War misinformation. Initial reporting of the story was factual, but reporting changed, and Thorp was reported to have said Lynch ‘waged quite a battle prior to her capture. We do have very strong indications that Jessica Lynch was not captured very easily,’ an inaccurate account of events. The identity of the ‘US officials’ that were the original source of the fictional account is unclear. Thorp stated that he confirmed press reports on the basis of other erroneous press reports he had seen, not

in Propaganda and counter-terrorism
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Evil terrorists, good Americans
Richard Jackson

popular entertainment images of the lone ‘man’s man’ who has to use his masculine qualities to save innocent women and children from harm. Women are always cast in the role of potential victims and almost never in the role of hero; even Private Jessica Lynch was rewritten from wounded soldier to woman-in-need-of-rescuing. The notion of protecting the ‘homeland’ is also highly gendered, as the home is seen

in Writing the war on terrorism
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Reproducing the discourse
Richard Jackson

language and its reflections of traditional patriarchal male-female roles. It is actually an overwhelmingly masculine narrative full of stereotypical masculine heroes (firefighters and police officers, soldiers/warriors, the courageous president), equally stereotypical female victims (the oppressed women of Afghanistan, Private Jessica Lynch, the ‘Homeland’) and an accompanying set of traditional masculine

in Writing the war on terrorism