The Media and the Persian Gulf War

The Media and the Persian Gulf War

The Media and the Persian Gulf War

The Media and the Persian Gulf War


This thorough work focuses on the processes and effects of the media, both leading up to and during the "mother of all battles" in 1990 and 1991. Broad in scope and varied in methodologies, the chapters span the media of television, radio, print, and film. Chapters discuss such specific topics as the relationship between the press and the censoring military, CNN's and C-SPAN's coverage, how talk radio and television covered the war, the media's depiction of women in the military, the Gulf War as a referent in advertising, and how popular culture legitimized the war.


On June 8, 1991, the United States held a victory day parade in Washington, D.C. The troops were officially welcomed home, praised for their bravery and sacrifice. America, after the embarrassment of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, had at last "won" another "war." We felt good.

In actuality, however, the war was really not much of a war. If was too quick, too easy, and too successful. The conflict lasted only weeks instead of months or years. American casualties were incredibly low, less than 300 rather than hundreds of thousands or even millions. This acknowledgment is not meant to diminish the efforts of the Allied forces but is an expression of relief and historical fact.

Now, two years later, to the general public the war is mostly forgotten and seldom mentioned. For future generations, the conflict will probably be only a footnote in American history. President George Bush, who received national and international acclaim and who enjoyed a 90 percent approval rating, lost his reelection bid. While the war did not play a role in the 1992 presidential campaign, we still remember the evening of January 16, 1991. At home, in our dens and living rooms, we witnessed the beginnings of the "mother of all battles."

At first, the nation was mesmerized by the immediacy. Half a world away, we saw the bombs drop, heard the sirens blare, and shared the fear as reporters prepared for possible gas attacks. Throughout the ordeal there was no escape or comfort. For many, it was rather awkward, even surreal, to be sitting in our homes witnessing live the initial phases of the conflict. This was not a movie but a real life drama.

The Gulf War has been widely characterized as "the global village's . . ."

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