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.
Evidence for supportive coverage and the elite-driven model
Philip M. Taylor
‘Supporting our boys in battle’: Evidence
for supportive coverage and the elite-drivenmodel
This chapter focuses on the evidence emerging from our study for the supportive coverage predicted by the elite-drivenmodel. We draw on the range of measures detailed in Chapter 3 – sources, reporter approach, subjects and framing
– together with examples from television and press coverage and interviews
with journalists, in order to provide a detailed assessment of the extent to which
television and the press generated supportive coverage. We then provide an
of different stages of the Iraq conflict. We conclude
by considering the normative question of how journalists should report war.
Here we discuss whether journalists can achieve ‘better’ or ‘higher’ standards
of wartime reporting.
Patterns of continuity: findings consistent with the elite-drivenmodel
At an aggregate level, many of the findings described in the preceding chapters are consistent with the predictions of the elite-drivenmodel, as Table 8.1
shows. Among most news media outlets, coverage was largely supportive of the
coalition with military progress
composed of three models of news media
performance: the elite-drivenmodel, the independent model and the oppositional model. We describe carefully the explanatory and descriptive aspects
of each of these models, and discuss their normative basis. We also give an
account of how the relationship between foreign policy, news media and war
might be expected to operate, based on current theoretical understanding.
The second objective of this chapter is to operationalise this framework, so
we describe the methodology that was developed in order to implement it.1
hypotheses from across the field of political
communication, we aim to overcome these limitations. The framework sets
out three models of wartime media performance: the elite-drivenmodel,
in which news media coverage is hypothesised to be supportive of government war aims; the independent model, where news media remain balanced
towards events and produce negotiated coverage; and the oppositional model
whereby news media offer a profound challenge to the legitimacy and conduct
of a conflict and generate oppositional coverage. We explain these models
further in Chapter 3
produced by Independent Television News (ITN), the same organisation
responsible for ITV News. The coverage of the war provided by ITV News
was quite different – nearly as supportive in orientation as that of Sky News
and conforming closely to the elite-drivenmodel. What distinguishes these
two news programmes is Channel 4’s regulatory obligation to be ‘alternative’
and ‘innovative’, and the newsroom culture that the channel’s remit appears
to have created.
Considered more widely, our findings in the case of Channel 4 News
indicate that norms of ‘professional