Posted by: jennajournalism | July 26, 2009

Iraq War Coverage

Both articles we were required to read on this subject were interesting — the misconceptions Americans held before, during, and after the war and where those misperceptions came from; and an in-depth analysis of ABC and CBS news stations’ coverage before the war. There was a parallel in both articles I think worth mentioning. Aside from noting that FOX news viewers held the most misperceptions related to the Iraq War, both studies found that CBS had a high level of packages supporting the war effort and providing misperceptions. I found this interesting because CBS, compared to its fellow big three competitors, is often perceived as America’s most trusted news network, particularly with a history of news anchors in Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather. Seems odd for this station to openly display a bias and add to the level of confusion among Americans’ perceptions of the war effort. It is, however, also lagging behind in ratings compared to its competitors – a stat that may have affected the way it covered the war buildup.

I also appreciated the efforts of the “Whose Views Made the News” study. The authors devoted ample time to detailing the pre-war coverage of particular TV stations as opposed to clumping all the news media outlets together as one force that failed to provide both sides’ views. This study proved that opposing viewpoints were heard during the run up to the Iraq War and some media outlets were more balanced in their coverage than others. It also raised ths issue of Americans’ trust for foreign vs. domestic sources as commentators on our international policies and relations.

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