DBQ: Media Influence on Political Issues the war in Iraq
Was the media too critical? Or not critical enough? In dealing with the war in Iraq?
News Coverage of the war in Iraq became news in itself. While editorial writers strongly supported or opposed American policy, other journalists questioned the way the war was being supported. Was the media too critical? Or not critical enough?
Use your knowledge of World War II and the documents to answer the questions and then the essential question below.
“Mr. Bush’s “Plan for Victory” speech was, or course, the usual unadulterated nonesense. It’s overarching theme “We will never accept anthing less than complete victory”- was being contradicted even as he spole by rampant reports of Pentagon plans fpr ste[pped up troops withdrawals betweem next week’s Iraqi Elections and the more important (for endangered Republicans) American Election Day of 2006. The speciifcss were phony too. Once again inflating the readiness of Iraqi troops, Mr. Bush claimed that the recent assault on Tal Afar “was primarily led by Iraqi security forces- a fairy tale immediately unmasked by Michael Ware, a Time reporter embedded in the battle’s front lines as “completely wrong”.
- Frank Rich, The New York Times, December 11, 2005
“Over the past few years the Iraq war has morphed from a war of liberation against Saddam into a civil conflict between Sunnis and Shiites… But the best news out of Iraq last week was the Sunnis voted joyfully and in large numbers. In what they said and the way they acted both the Sunnis and Shiites made it clear that while they are engages in a fierce rivalry, they fervently believe in a democratic and unified Iraq. This is not yet a to-the-death struggle… That’s why it’s necessary to have a third party- in Iraq, the United States- to cajole the two sides toward the settlement, to enforce the agreement afterward, to nurture a functioning social contract after that and to prevent hostile outside powers from spoiling the deal. That’s why, again, it is essential that the US remain in Iraq long enough to deescalate the conflict
- David Brooks, the New York Times, December 18, 2005
- “Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting did a study. In the week leading up to General Colin Powell going to the Security Council to make his case for the invasions and the week afterwards- to make his case for the invasions and the week afterwards- this was the period where more than half of the people in this country were opposed to an invasion- they did a study of CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight’s and the Newhouse with Jim Lehrer on PBS. The four major news-casts. Two weeks. Three hundred and ninety three interviews on war. Three were anti-war voices. Three of almost four hundred, and that included PBS… (T) Hey have to provide the diversity of opinion that fully expresses the debate and the anguish and the discussions that are going on all over this country. That is media serving a democratic society.
- Amy Goodman, “Independent Media in a Time of War”, April 21 2003
1. Which of the documents is/are critical of the government’s positive assessment of the war in Iraq?
2. According to Amy Goodman, create a statement that most accurately is an assessment of media coverage of the invasion of Iraq?
3. What is the main point in the cartoon in Document C?
4. Writing Task: Think about the political perspectives on the war in Iraq expressed in the media. Do you think the media has played an influential role in shaping American foreign policy in Iraq? Use your knowledge of media coverage of the war, key events in the war, and specific evidence from the primary sources above to support your opinion