During the Gulf War the media's emphasis was on new,
technologically advanced, weapons systems: although
these 'smart bombs' did not make up the bulk of missiles
dropped on Iraq. However, traditional news sources,
newspapers and television, remained the most popular.
The impact of 24 hour television was felt in the UK:
for the first time, viewers had access to news at any
time of the day.
During the Gulf War, journalists were organised into
Pools, attached to military units in the field and dependent
upon the military for their information.
Some journalists rejected the Pool system and decided
to go it alone. These journalists risked being deported
by the military, and even worse: being captured by the
Journalists in Baghdad were controlled and censored
by Iraqi minders. They were escorted to locations by
Television news was dominated by American news corporation
CNN. In the UK both ITV and BBC used CNN coverage.
Leaflet drops were widely used by the US military during
the Gulf War. Example of surrender
leaflet dropped by Allies.
In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, daily televised briefings were held.
The press complained about a lack of 'hard news' at these
Information Bureau (JIB)
Journalists who could not get into the pool system or accreditation
to attend official briefings in Riyadh. Their source was the
JIB, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
The use of jargon led to misunderstandings. For example, when
General Powell referred to missions as 'effective' he simply
meant that they had taken place, not that they had hit their
General Schwarzkopf and Lieutenant-General Charles 'Chuck'
Horner showed video footage shot through a Stealth F-117A's
laser target designator. It showed a bomb travelling down
a ventilation shaft. This reinforced the idea of high-tech
accurate weapons - a 'smart' bloodless war.