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Media and Democracy Essay

In 1990, the Americans faced a situation that badly calls for their attention. An all out war against Saddam Hussein and the country he governs named Iraq was the argument being raised by the Bush Administration to his people. The administration needs the support of the public and it is when they decided to make propagandas that may affect the decisions of the people. While sensationalizing news and even opinions about wars and things connected to these acts, people are drawn closer into being deceived and this news may cause them conflicts in developing their own side of the story.

Furthermore, with the use of media, journalism and press releases, a major impact is formed that can affect the opinion of the public or the majority which can somehow be very threatening to the outcome, conclusion or result of the battle and the cause being fought for by both sides. During the Gulf War that lasted from 1990 to 1991, media, propagandas and press releases played a big role in forming the opinion of the people of the United States of America about the suggested war against Iraq proposed by the Bush Administration which resulted to an attack against Saddam Hussein and Iraq in a wider, different picture.

Related Literature Before finally opening the discussion about the media censorship during the Gulf War, how about we first talk about the group, people and terms involved in the whole sharing of ideas and construction of a this research. War as the key topic that will connect media, public and the incident together will allow us to understand how important the participation of media during the Gulf War years was to the United States of America and at the same time, how it affected the both Iraq and Kuwait.

War Defined A three-letter word that can change the whole story of our entire history, war is more like a problem, a conflict made to destroy not just places but also human lives. It is commonly described as a dangerous act and a conflict that would mostly cause problems and loss of human lives. However, the word “War” is a term that serves various meanings and uses. It could be a figure of speech which creates an allusion to serious strife, campaigns and even struggles.

In so many ways, the word, vague as it is can be is used in identifying a certain issue or incident like “war on terrorism”, “class wars” and other occurrences that could definitely be understood easily with the presence of the word “war”. In Merriam-Webster Dictionary, War is defined as (1)’ a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations’, (2) ‘a period of such armed conflict’, and (3) ‘State of War which corresponds to the art or science of warfare like the weapons, equipment used in war, soldiers and equipped soldiers ready for the war’ .

It is also the ‘struggle or the competition between opposing forces or for a particular end’. Although the word is used in many ways, the usual aim of war is to ‘overthrow the enemy’ which ‘does not always imply the complete conquest of the enemy’s country’. Media Defined There had been several definitions of media. People refer to means or medium of communication as media too. Talking in general, it ‘refers to various means of communication’ which stands for ‘television, newspaper and radio’. At the same time, Media is also a ‘collective noun for the press or news reporting agencies’.

The same definition of media as a term is also used by Paul Hawken in his book to characterize the word. While this author mentioned the same purpose of media which is to identify the medium and tools used for communication, he also insisted that media ‘is a term that also applies to those people whose profession it is to discover, report and communicate information and news to the public’. Furthermore, we now understand that media is a term used to describe both the medium used in communication and the people who we also call press. They serve as our ears and eyes about what is happening in our surroundings.

Through their news, reports and discoveries, we learn from them the truth and the reality. However, the role of media although is very essential in the lives of the people, in the existence of humanity and truth can also be misused and mislead us from the certainties. History of Gulf War It is said that the Gulf War, also referred to as the Second Gulf War is unique compared to other wars happened in the history of this century, probably in the rest of human race account and existence. In so many ways, this war has several features that make it different from other armed conflicts in the whole world.

Compared to the Second World War and Vietnam War, there had been several, much more bombs thrown to the enemy country than the amount of explosives used to destroy Vietnam. Also, the treatment of media towards the incident is more intense compared to how they reported their coverage during the World War II and the War in Vietnam. On the second day of August in 1990, Iraq made a move to invade Kuwait. Kuwait, a small democratic country rich in oil and produces the needed amount of the United States of America. This incident of 1990 is not the first in the history of Kuwait. It was the third conflict between Iraq and Kuwait in just one century.

The first one was in July 1897 and the second one was in June 1961. Aside from these two, there is also a semi-crisis between the two countries which happened in March 1939. These account of events show that the two countries had been rivals for a long time already and the conflict between them only grows bigger as the years pass by. The Complaints of Iraq According to Suzanne Murdico, there are three complaints that Iraq issued over its neighboring country which is Kuwait. Although some of the complaints of Iraq over Kuwait concerns the past events wherein both countries were involved.

One among the several disputes was the money that Iraq borrowed from Kuwait which was used as payment for the Iran-Iraq War. Secondly dispute is concerned with the oil being produced by Kuwait. Since Kuwait, though small country can produce oil that is demanded by the oil market which even angered Saddam Hussein and accused them of producing oil more than the allowed amount as stated by Organization of Petroleum Exporting. The third dispute is about the border between the Iraq and Kuwait territories wherein there is enormous oil. The disputes between Kuwait and Iraq became the same reasons why the latter invaded Kuwait.

In June 8, 1991, a victory parade was held in Washington. After almost a year of conflict, the United States of America was able to “save” Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. Media Coverage of the Gulf War As Dilip Hiro said in his book “Desert Shield to Desert Storm” the Gulf War had its share of popularity. Media coverage during the Persian Gulf War or the Second Gulf War can never be compared to the exposure given to World War II and Vietnam War. Censorship Media and People Media and the Gulf War Censorship during the Gulf War Western coverage of the Gulf War Demonizing Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein had been an ally of the United States of America for almost a decade before the former invaded Kuwait, an oil producing country which supplies the U. S. within eight years, Hussein, a dictator was able to kill 150,000 Iranians and around 13,000 Iraqis. There had been complaints coming from international human rights group about these killings but being an ally of both Reagan and Bush, he was not given enough attention for punishment. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, April Glaspie, Ambassador of the United States of America asked the media to allow the appearance of Hussein in television even for a few minutes.

In this case, Hussein will have the chance to explain himself and also Iraq to the public. These words of the Ambassador served as a hint for Hussein that U. S. sympathizes with him and Iraq. He thought that if he will invade Kuwait, U. S. will not see it as a crime. However, the Bush Administration thought that Hussein’s crime is serious and it is not just killing refugees but it threatens the oil supply already. In 1979, Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s new leader took his post and changed the story of their country. A man with sheer desire for wealth and power, Fiske’s Argument Conclusion Incidents happen for a reason.

Nothing exists without its motives and everything; all things in life have its purpose. At first we may find it absurd, crazy and foolish but in the end, what happened will be the biggest story we would want to uncover for the truth. War is a very huge word made by people dominating the entire world. While some people and probably most of the people prefer to have peace in the world rather than endless bloodsheds everywhere, others, especially those who have personal biases and some individual agendas over certain things that concern themselves and some other people existing in their world.

Although the word is used in different situations and contains diverse meaning, war is still a word that is very dangerous to the innocent ones. In 1990, media and war finally met to destroy innocent lives and at the same time to hate each other. A story of destroying a nation and manipulating the emotions, feelings and opinion of the greater majority, the gulf war of 1990 was one of the tragic stories for the exercise of freedom of speech. In times of war and conflict between two opposing parties, the opinion of the people involved is very important that it may either serve as a better result or it may complicate things more.

One of the most helpful tools in telling the truth, probably the mirror of reality is the media. However, Media and War became best of friends in some cases that together, these two may promote a fight worth dying for or may destroy lives of innocent people. Their companionship most of the time does not mean that they do help each other but because with the use of media, one side of the face of the war will win. Persuasion and propagandas helped a lot in promoting the means that the opposing parties were fighting for.

In so many ways, media was both a tool in persuading the people of the United States of America to go in the war with Bush towards Saddam Hussein and at the same time was a battered medium of communication, a means that was used to tell a lie and to mandate what the people should feel. Bibliography Atkinson, Rick. Crusade the Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War. Houghton Mifflin Company. 1993 Center for Media and Democracy.

Toxic Sludge Is Good For You, Chapter 10: How PR Sold the War in the Persian Gulf. Retrieved January 19, 2009 from http://www. prwatch. org/books/tsigfy10. html Clausewitz, C. , Graham, J. , Natusch, F. , and Willmot, L. On War. Wordsworth Edition. 1997, page 351. Dinstein, Yoram. War, Aggression and Self-defence 4th Edition. Cambridge University Press. 2005, page 3. Hawken, Paul. Blessed Unrest. Viking. 2007, page 267. Hiro, Dilip. Deset Shield to Desert Storm. iUniverse, 2003, page 4 Media. In TechTerms. com, Retrieved January 19, 2009 from http://www. techterms. com/definition/media Murdico, Suzanne J. The Gulf War. The Rosen Publishing Group, 2004, page 11. War. (2009). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved January 15, 2009, from http://www. merriam-webster. com/dictionary/war


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