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The Media in the Gulf War.

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Mike Magnusson Dr. Sarah Young Composition 11 October 2002 The Media in the Gulf War One of the biggest news stories in the early nineteen-nineties was the Persian Gulf War. This war between the United States and Iraq was quickly picked up by the media and reporters were sent to the battle scene in mass numbers. As the U.S. was raging war, the media agencies were picking up every scrap of news and reporting it. Live action was being presented on television and the newspapers were filled of war updates in every section. The government was getting angry at some of the things and tried in many cases to control the information that the press received. The media coverage of the Gulf War was both harmful and helpful to the United States. The Persian Gulf War all began when the oil rich nation of Iraq was attacking towns and cities of Kuwait. Kuwait was a small country neighboring Iraq that was also resource rich. "Media hype climaxed in an 'inevitable' momentum on January 15. Minutes before Bush's deadline to Iraq passed, an American TV news anchor said that if an attack didn't follow soon, 'there may be a certain sense of letdown.'" ...read more.


(Winter, 30) Air to surface combat was being used extensively for the first time. The U.S. was also using new technology and weapons that have not been tested in war before. Mistakes always occurred and these mistakes hit the airwaves fast. The news stations would often show live shots of destroyed cities. They would claim that a missed bombing attempt killed innocent civilians. "But while media and public remained riveted to technical displays of the laser-guided wizardry of the Cruise and Patriot missiles, US officials admitted that only 60 per cent of the laser-guided bombs hit their target, so 2 out of 5 missed, 'sometimes by thousands of feet.'" (Winter 31) This would fuel war protestors and create more havoc for the government. Smart-bombs that have gone "dumb," were the headlines of many major papers. Any mistake that was being made was shown to millions of people. Because of this the government had two wars to fight: the war on Iraq, and the war on the media. Rumors were being spread that Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi leader, was watching CNN for updates of the American strikes. ...read more.


The media would show all the cruelty of war and it would upset its viewers. The people of the U.S. began to protest that this was not their war to fight. The government got stuck in a hole and could not dig out. This almost occurred with the Gulf War. This time the pentagon learned from its mistakes and began censoring some of the coverage. Luckily, the people of America did the opposite as Vietnam and supported the fight. The media is a sly unpredictable force. You never know how one may report the news and from what view they are reporting. Over time the press has become more and more influential in American life. During the Persian Gulf War the media showed many sides. From positive propaganda to the pessimistic analysis, the news companies reported a wide range of stories throughout the war. The government and media keep each other in check, without one the other would dominate the country. So is the media a friend or foe? That question really depends on the stance of the readers or listeners. The audience is the deciding factor in whether the media is harmful or helpful. ...read more.

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