The Iraq War has attracted news coverage from around the world. Various television stations in countries like the US and the UK have news correspondents and news bureaus in the area to cover war-related updates and happenings. However, there were concerns on how media frames and delivers their news. Most of these news reports are accused of being biased, choosing to show only the negative aspects of the war. Two authors have written about this occurrence. One of them points out that most of the stories that reaches the audience is negative, while the other one points out the flaws reporting only the good aspects of war.
By critically analyzing these two articles, it is possible to gain useful information as to why the news coverage in Iraq are framed as such. The first article is The Real Iraq Story by Karl Zinsmeister. This talks about the bias towards negative news by the foreign news coverage (Zinsmeister, 2004). It cites certain examples of bad news coverage in Iraq. From the plight of detainees in an Iraqi prison to the power shortages in Iraqi towns and cities, foreign news teams like CNN and BBC clearly chose to report on the negative aspects of certain topics.
According to Zinmeister, this type of media coverage clearly affects how people around the world see the Iraq war. By showing mostly the negative aspects of the war, people tend to overlook its purpose. By showing the prison conditions of the detainees, the people are more drawn to the cruelties of war, instead of thinking who these detainees were. On the other hand, Phillip Carter’s The dark side of Iraq’s good news talks about the bias on the good news by recent Iraqi reports (Carter, 2007).
These are more recent than the bias on negative news by foreign news correspondents, and these were reported by the Iraqi media. These reports are mostly about the declining Iraqi civilian death toll, increasing number of Iraqis joining US military to secure neighborhoods, and the capture of top insurgent leaders. Despite the majority of the good news, the author argues that focusing on these topics may mislead the people. They could develop a false sense of security, which would just worsen their situation.
Going back to Zinsmeister article, we can assume that there is a motive behind the mostly negative news coverage. As the war continues, more and more people are starting to oppose it, doubting the intentions of those who are pursuing it. Political leaders like US President George W. Bush attracted the opposition of the international community because of the US occupation of Iraq in relation to his war on terror. If we relate this to the negative news coverage in Iraq, then it is possible that this is one way of opposing those who pursue this war.
News coverage like this clearly draws out the sympathy of the people, especially if they continue to see its negative side. On the other hand, the mostly positive Iraqi news coverage could mean the opposite. By reporting only the good news, the media are trying to build up a positive image for Iraq. By reporting every improving statistic and leaving out the negative ones, people can be lulled to believing that indeed, Iraq has improved greatly. However, with mostly the positive news being covered, it seems that the Iraqi media are overdoing it and would appear that they’re just covering up the real scenario (Kelly, 2007).
Moreover, this faulty news coverage had the international community thinking: can the Iraqi people really do it? Will they be able to stand on their own after the war? References: Carter, P. (2007). The dark side of Iraq’s good news. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from http://www. slate. com/id/2177250/ Kelly, M. L. (2007). Good, Bad News in Iraq Intelligence Estimate. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from http://www. npr. org/templates/story/story. php? storyId=13920438 Zinsmeister, K. (2004). The Real Iraq Story. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from http://www. nationalreview. com/comment/zinsmeister200408040849. asp