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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.

Evidence for supportive coverage and the elite-driven model
Piers Robinson, Peter Goddard, Katy Parry, Craig Murray, and Philip M. Taylor

5 ‘Supporting our boys in battle’: Evidence for supportive coverage and the elite-driven model Overview This chapter focuses on the evidence emerging from our study for the supportive coverage predicted by the elite-driven model. 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

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

theoretical accounts relating to both the media–foreign policy relationship and, more broadly, media and politics. Below we offer a detailed explication of each model, before summarising the current state of theoretical knowledge concerning news media coverage of war. The elite-driven model and supportive coverage Explanation As our review in Chapter 2 showed, three reasons are variously invoked in order to explain the elite-driven model and the supportive coverage associated with it: journalists’ reliance on official sources (Bennett and Paletz, 1994; GUMG, 1985; Hallin

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

), our aggregate-level finding of supportive coverage makes it impossible to sustain a claim that the majority of British television news succeeded in achieving balance once war was underway. Indeed, only Channel 4 News appears to have come close to approximating balanced or impartial coverage. With respect to the recent studies of the 2003 Iraq War reviewed in Chapter 2, our aggregate level findings support Lewis et al. (2006) and their claim that coverage generally supported the coalition, while challenging Tumber Patterns of support, negotiation and opposition 163

in Pockets of resistance
Evidence for negotiated and oppositional coverage
Piers Robinson, Peter Goddard, Katy Parry, Craig Murray, and Philip M. Taylor

course, reporting through the prism of the national perspective, the anti-war press also had to explain the actions of British troops, the circumstances in which they found themselves and the dangers that they faced, and it is this perceived need to support British troops in action that best explains their impulse towards supportive coverage. Understandably, there was a consensus that the responsibility for the invasion of Iraq lay with politicians and not with those carrying out military orders, who were portrayed as highly skilled, efficient and, at times, heroic

in Pockets of resistance
Gordon Pirie

Home Counties read the acknowledged daily newspaper of record at breakfast tables. Its comprehensive coverage and agreeable tone would in time earn praise from C. G. Grey. He commended the paper for its thorough, restrained and supportive coverage of aviation. Not least, he saluted the way it consistently proclaimed a ‘sane English view’. The Times was, in his view, one institution that could be

in Air empire
Open Access (free)
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

homosexuality a bedrock of conservative reactionary thought in the 2000s. Stone’s film no doubt felt some of the effects of that reaction, as its publicity took a hold. Alexander also reflected on the invasion of Iraq. WMDs had failed to materialise, and insurgency followed initial military successes as the more difficult ‘rebuilding’ of Iraq commenced and quickly stalled. By May 2004 the New York Times was questioning its earlier supportive coverage of the administration and belief in assertions about the presence of WMDs, although the paper remained cautious about returning

in The cinema of Oliver Stone