Approximately one year after the start of the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the British newspaper The Independent published an image of coffins covered in the US flag being returned to Delaware, America. Under the title ‘The image turning America against Bush’, the coffins are being unloaded from a transport plane by 12 troops. The accompanying article informs us how the White House is trying to prevent the release of such images, because of ‘their potential to inflict political damage on Mr Bush as he campaigns for re-election’ (24 April 2004). This reaction is not merely concerned with the future as suggested, however. It is concerned with the past and more specifically is rooted in fears and anxieties which evolved during the Vietnam War, In a real sense, the Vietnam War was the test case for how future governments need to deal with news media during a period of military conflict. For successive American governments (remembering that US involvement in Indochina lasted over six elections (Kattenburg 1980: 315)), the ‘Vietnam Syndrome’ has become a condition without end, where political fears about the news media representing wars in ways which are likely to jeopadize public support is ever present.
KeywordsNews Medium Critical Coverage Television News News Coverage Peace Movement
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