Media and War





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Gulf War Technologies
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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.

The Pool System
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 Iraqis.

Journalists in Baghdad were controlled and censored by Iraqi minders. They were escorted to locations by these minders.

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.


Official Briefings
In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, daily televised briefings were held. The press complained about a lack of 'hard news' at these briefings.

Joint 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.

Military Jargon
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 targets.

Video Game War
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.

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