How and why did the United States state-media relationship have an impact on the 2003 Iraq War conflict reporting? A critical analysis

Zolke, Olivia C. (2020) How and why did the United States state-media relationship have an impact on the 2003 Iraq War conflict reporting? A critical analysis. Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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This thesis examines the politics of conflict reporting by exploring the role of U.S. state-media relations in the 2003 Iraq War coverage. By undertaking a critical examination of the different strategies utilised by the U.S. administration and U.S. media, this thesis seeks to discover to what extent the concurrent employment of these strategies shaped the conflict reporting, while also considering the specific interests of the administration and media which drove these strategies. The aim of the thesis is to explain why news stories during this period predominately appeared to represent the American administration’s perspective and agenda. Secondary research lays the groundwork for this claim, with supporting evidence and statistics about the Iraq War conflict reporting. The extent to which news stories appear to have been one-sided during this period is discussed. Primary research was undertaken to support these findings, consisting of a series of interviews with U.S. politicians and media representatives, and supplemented with a critical analysis of official documents and statements made by the U.S. administration. This research seeks to augment the findings with additional empirical evidence, to illuminate how the relationship between the U.S. administration and the media had an impact on the Iraq War coverage. This study argues that the U.S. state-media relationship during the Iraq War was mutually beneficial and symbiotic; however unequal power relations permitted the U.S. administration more capacity to impact upon the coverage. It is argued that the U.S. administration depended upon the U.S. media to uphold its perspective in order to pursue its military agenda, while the U.S. media gained invaluable support for its business interests in exchange for compliance of the regulations placed upon them and widely upholding the official narrative. Despite this relationship being mutually beneficial, this study has found that the extent to which the U.S. administration’s strategies regulated and restricted the U.S. media indicates that unequal power relations existed. It thus appears that U.S. state-media relations, and the interests and strategies of both the state and the media, had a clear impact upon this coverage. Although it was mutually beneficial for the state and media to engage in this relationship, the unequal power relations and strategies utilised by the U.S. administration suggest that the U.S. media’s First Amendment rights were significantly violated. Additionally, this thesis will demonstrate how this coverage impacted both public opinion and foreign and military policy, thus indicating the conflict reporting and U.S. state-media relations which shaped it have considerable wider impact and implications.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: conflict reporting, state-media relations, strategies, Iraq War
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2020 14:02
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:53

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