Commentary and links relating to media coverage of war; both before, during, and after.

William A. Dorman is Professor of Government at California State University, Sacramento, and has taught a course in War, Peace and the Mass Media since 1970.

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War, Peace, and the Mass Media
Wednesday, April 16, 2003  
Nightly News Feels Pinch of 24-Hour News

April 14, 2003

With the most televised war in history winding down, executives at TV news organizations are noticing one startling detail in how Americans are watching the coverage: viewers are increasingly tuning out the broadcast networks' evening newscasts.

During previous periods of intense news interest, most recently in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, viewers have tended to flock to the network news. There they found what they considered the best information but also the perspective and context from the anchors and reporters they trusted the most.

But in the first 16 days of the war with Iraq, the networks not only saw the gains of the first days vanish, they in fact suffered a drop-off from the average viewership during the preceding weeks of the television season. CBS and ABC together lost nearly two million viewers, or a combined 10 percent, during the period, according to Nielsen Media Research. Only NBC, which unlike the other networks has a cable news operation, recorded a slight increase. For rest of article, see New York Times

5:08 PM

Credibility of Arab Satellite Channels Among War's Casualties

Raid Qusti, Special to Arab News

RIYADH, 13 April 2003 — The fall of Baghdad to American forces was met with feelings of betrayal, disbelief, and shock here in Saudi Arabia.

Many Saudis are still trying to figure out how the capital could give in to the American forces without putting up any significant resistance. Unanswered questions loom in the minds of Saudis as to how it all happened. One theory is that Condoleezza Rice, in her meeting with Russian officials, was told that Saddam would be allowed to go into exile to Russia on condition that he ordered his officers not to resist and thus allow US forces an easy victory.

This theory, along with many others, is all over Arab websites and Saudi gatherings. But everyone wants to know what really happened. This time, however, there is no Iraqi information minister on Al-Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV to give people the answers they want to hear. Toward the Arab satellite channels, a sense of betrayal is already taking hold. Saudis did not see the 1991 Gulf War live on television because satellite dishes were forbidden. “Operation Iraqi Freedom” 13 years later was watched in every Saudi household live. Saudi citizens had the opportunity to view the coverage on every news channel on the planet. Many educated people watched the major American networks, such as MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN. For rest of article, see Arab News

4:59 PM

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