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American Media Coverage of the War Against Iraq. America’s Response to the September 11th Attack Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land: http://www.pppl.org/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Savicom&utm_campaign=MEF%20Film%20Offered%20Free%20Online&utm_term=%0A&utm_content=yangshexiang%40yahoo.com.

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American Media Coverage of the War Against Iraq

  • America’s Response to the September 11th Attack

  • Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land: http://www.pppl.org/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Savicom&utm_campaign=MEF%20Film%20Offered%20Free%20Online&utm_term=%0A&utm_content=yangshexiang%40yahoo.com



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America Responds:Shock and Awe





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America Responds: Shock and Awe“Mission Accomplished!”


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How the American Media Failed

  • There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Did not critically analyze Bush Administration assertions about Iraqi possession of WMD.

  • Iraq was NOT involved in the anti-American terror plots of Al Quaeda. Did not critically analyze Bush Administration assertions about Saddam Hussein connections with Al Quaeda and complicity in September 11th.

  • Arab World does not oppose US because it “hates freedom”. Did not analyze the complex events in Middle East


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America Responds: Shock & AweImages We Didn’t See


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America Responds: Shock & AweImages We Didn’t See


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America Responds: Shock & AweImages We Didn’t See


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Fear is the Frame

  • fear as frame, negativity, prospect theory


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Setting the News Budget

  • Media focus on the “big story”

  • limited international “news hole” limit of one international story per day

  • greater cost of international coverage

  • media mergers, fewer resources fewer independent sources, reliance on wires

  • most stories covered from NY or else by parachute press


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The Big Story

  • Pack tendency

  • Focus on “rogue” states


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Follow the Pack:Declaring Victory

  • "Iraq Is All but Won; Now What?”

  • (Los Angeles Times headline, 4/10/03)

  • "Congress returns to Washington this week to a world very different from the one members left two weeks ago. The war in Iraq is essentially over and domestic issues are regaining attention."

  • (NPR's Bob Edwards, 4/28/03)

  • "We had controversial wars that divided the country. This war united the country and brought the military back."

  • (Newsweek's Howard Fineman--MSNBC, 5/7/03)

  • "We're all neo-cons now."

  • (MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 4/9/03)

  • "The war was the hard part. The hard part was putting together a coalition, getting 300,000 troops over there and all their equipment and winning. And it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but it is not as hard as winning a war."

  • (Fox News Channel's Fred Barnes, 4/10/03)


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Mission Accomplished”

  • "Oh, it was breathtaking. I mean I was almost starting to think that we had become inured to everything that we'd seen of this war over the past three weeks; all this sort of saturation. And finally, when we saw that it was such a just true, genuine expression. It was reminiscent, I think, of the fall of the Berlin Wall. And just sort of that pure emotional expression, not choreographed, not stage-managed, the way so many things these days seem to be. Really breathtaking."

  • (Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly, appearing on Fox News Channel on 4/9/03, discussing the pulling down of a Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad, an event later revealed to have been a U.S. military PSYOPS operation--Los Angeles Times, 7/3/04)


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Follow the Pack

  • "The only people who think this wasn't a victory are Upper Westside liberals, and a few people here in Washington."

  • (Charles Krauthammer, Inside Washington, WUSA-TV, 4/19/03)


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Follow the Pack

  • "Tommy Franks and the coalition forces have demonstrated the old axiom that boldness on the battlefield produces swift and relatively bloodless victory. The three-week swing through Iraq has utterly shattered skeptics' complaints."

  • (Fox News Channel's Tony Snow, 4/13/03)


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Follow the Pack

  • "Now that the combat phase of the war in Iraq is officially over, what begins is a debate throughout the entire U.S. government over America's unrivaled power and how best to use it."

  • (CBS reporter Joie Chen, 5/4/03)


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White House Sets Agenda Part Spider-Man, part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan. The president seizes the moment on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific."

  • Bush Administration tight control of information flow. Any information is then reported

  • Bush Administration forces focus on its preferred policy tools: confrontation vs. cooperation; unilateral action; force as preventive measure


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White House Sets the Agenda Part Spider-Man, part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan. The president seizes the moment on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific."

  • Embedding Reporters

  • Denying Independent Access

  • Encouraging Indirect Censorship of “Off-Message” (aiding and abetting)


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White House Sets the Agenda Simplifying and Amplifying the Spun Message: Manufacturing Moral Certainty

  • Simplification of WMD imprecise

  • nuclear program vs. nuclear weapons

  • chemical weapons, what is a WMD.

  • Horseshoes and hand grenades versus precision

  • Complex political, historical issue ambiguous

  • simplify to single issue


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Language and Framing of the WMD Spun Message: Manufacturing Moral Certainty

  • Weapons of mass destruction

  • nuclear weapons/ dirty bombs vs. mini-nukes, bunker busters, tactical nuclear weapons

  • Chemical Ali,


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Framing a WMD-terrorism connection Spun Message: Manufacturing Moral Certainty

  • “terrorism” definition

  • Rumsfeld labeling of N. Korea as a “terrorist” state


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How US News-Gathering Practices Facilitate Government Manipulation of the Press

  • Inverted Pyramid

  • He said She said approach

  • Sensationalism and emotive language

  • Reduction of policy debates to partisan struggle


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Forms of Coverage Manipulation of the Press

  • Breaking News

  • Political Diplomatic Stories

  • Features Human Interest

  • Background Stories

  • Commentary Opinion

  • Interviews Debates


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How US News-Gathering Practices Facilitate Government Manipulation of the Press

  • Inverted Pyramid:

  • Stenographic reporting of government statements

  • Allows Administration to frame issue (WMD)

  • Discounts alternative perspectives


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How US News-Gathering Practices Facilitate Government Manipulation of the Press

  • Interest in Statistics and ‘facts’

  • Avoidance of Uncertainty, preference for statistics, avoidance of uncertainty of intelligence reports

  • 24 hour news cycle means little time to research, investigate and confirm

  • Pack journalism (CYA)

  • Time and Space constraints (little background)


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Sourcing Manipulation of the Press

  • Reliance on Administration Sources

  • Adoption of politicized administration language

  • Adoption of politicized administration pronouncements e.g. link between Saddam Hussein and WMD.

  • “Off the Record”

  • no accountability

  • Think Tanks


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Making the World Safe for America Manipulation of the Press

  • Focus on Threat to America

  • US Bilateral relations vs. relationships between other countries (e.g. Syria and Iran, Syria and Iraq)

  • Focus on US proposals


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US vs. UK Coverage Manipulation of the Press


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Propaganda and the US Media Manipulation of the Press

  • Media’s close relationship with White House

  • bureaucratic affinity

  • international affairs provide fewer alternative perspectives. Easier for administration to spin

  • simple reiterations of administration statements

  • administration successful in prioritizing and framing WMD issue


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White House Reporter: Manipulation of the Press Jeff Gannon

  • "Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy. (Senate Minority Leader) Harry Reid was talking about soup lines. And (Senator) Hillary Clinton was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet in the same breath they say that Social Security is rock solid and there's no crisis there. How are you going to work – you've said you are going to reach out to these people – how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"


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Jeff Gannon Manipulation of the Press

  • May 10, 2004: "Q In your denunciations of the Abu Ghraib photos, you've used words like 'sickening,' 'disgusting' and 'reprehensible.' Will you have any adjectives left to adequately describe the pictures from Saddam's rape rooms and torture chambers? And will Americans ever see those images? "MR. McCLELLAN: I'm glad you brought that up, Jeff, because the President talks about that often."



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