The world today relies on information to travel, survive, security, health care, and positive growth of families. Without information on the weather forecast, flights and other means of travel would not set to the air. The same way, without enough information on the type of policies politicians would be bringing to the political tables, voters would have nothing to base their decisions on. The opposite of lack of information can be too much of it and this can be damaging especially for the case of corporate businesses. For example, a shoe dealer based in New York discovers how much women love boots and before stocking his store with such boots, logs in to the social media websites and puts up an update declaring that he has discovered what many women in terms of fashion. For competitors on the receiving end, this is an opportunity to use against that particular dealer so that they could get a piece of the pie.
Urgent necessary information that requires the attention of the public has to be published or aired through some channel of the media. The media is in form of print, audio, and audio visual. The form of media one chooses to get information from is a personal choice that has to be made by that particular individual. On the side of the media houses and news reporting agencies, it is the expectation of the public that gives them a basis of what to air and what to avoid. On this case, the public do not have a choice when it comes to the selection of news because the news reflects the thinking and state of mind of the particular reporter or media house.
This research paper reflects on the role of the media houses and reporters in the information and misinformation they caused the American citizens during the Gulf War. The nature of human beings is that they draw a big deal of interest in news coverage in times of wartime. This paper reviews the type of information the media wanted to air and the information they ended up airing and the reasons during the Gulf War.
The Gulf War started in the year 1991 after Saddam Hussein and Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait and declared it the 19th province of Iraq. Given that Iraq was more powerful than Kuwait, this invasion was damaging to the Kuwaitis and the national security of Kuwait. Given that the Saddam had succeeded in seizing a vast portion of Kuwait, it was upon the Kuwaitis to either retaliate or ask for international help. The former was not an option for Iraq was a neighboring villain with a record of iron-fist leadership. President George, W. H. Bush of USA during that time thought that Saddam had gone too far in evading Kuwait and offered to assist in pushing Iraqi troops out of Kuwait. The international community followed USA’s example and formed a coalition that was supposed to take on Iraq soldiers on an offensive to root them out of Kuwait.
The events that were unveiling had drawn too much attention on the side of media houses and many reporters were in the forefront trying to capture a moment of the war to report something. On the side of the USA and coalition partners’ military, allowing media to report on the issues as they happened was a risk both the security of the USA and coalition military personnel as it was to the image of USA. To cut back on the probability of such risks, the military personnel did not allow media reporters to the battlefront. Most of the reported events were according to the reports the military briefers gave to the media. The fact about these reports is that they reported about one side of the story and aimed to prove a point to the public. The point was to make the public want to support that war by giving negative coverage about Saddam and Iraqi troops while on the other hand portraying the USA military as considerate.
Pooling of media reporters was a strategic move that the USA military embarked on to protect the type of content reported or aired. The reason behind the interest of reporting by an individual was the basis within which the pooling system based on. Different reporters had varying interests in reporting and among those, the ones with the intention of reporting on the interests of the public were shipped to Saudi Arabia for free while those interested in covering the war as it happened were pooled and at times denied access. The pooling system ensured anything that reported was under the scrutiny of the military and was appropriate to them and to the public.
Censoring of information is the act removing some details from a report or partial reporting of events. There are a number of reasons why this practice is assumed by many media houses or why the government may push for such practice. National security of any country is infringed if too much or classified information is given out. The operations of military are vulnerable to compromise if certain details of their mission are reported. The political scene maintains an image that it thrives to protect in all ways and censoring some inappropriate undertakings is one of them.
Propaganda is the act of giving information that cannot be proven true or authentic according to the kind of event it is supposed to cover. There are three sides of a story and among those; there is the truth, one side’s perspective, and the other side’s view. For this reason, it is hard to draw the truth when the information is coming from one side of the involved parties. The involvement of USA in the Gulf War made an impact on the media in that the reported were pooled on the side of the USA military. Independent reporting was one of the most censored aspects of the Gulf war because there was the great risk that a reporter could give information likely to cause friction in terms of national security, political image, and trade partnerships.
American citizens during the Gulf war were the most impacted with the censoring of the information that made it to the media houses. Allegations made say that they more people watched and followed stories about the Gulf War, the least they ended up knowing. The television was a controlled unit of information disbursement and the only information allowed to the press was meant to positively and negatively portray the USA and Iraq militaries respectively.
Saddam Hussein was a leader who assumed office without the approval of the people he was leading or claimed to lead. The way he assumed offices follows a series of executions and forceful assumption of office under the help of the USA. Following the same trend of assuming office without the consent from the citizens of Iraq, Saddam Hussein felt like he could extend that form of leadership to the neighboring Kuwait. However, the move was not welcomed by most of the international powers and they moved in to oppose it. This ushered in the war to evict Iraq from Kuwait with the USA leading amongst partners.
Before the alleged start of the war, President Bush the senior gave a briefing that an offensive led by USA troops was going to take place to drive out Iraqi troops out of Kuwait. During the time, he was giving this briefing; the bombardment of several military bases in Kuwait believed to have been occupied by the Iraqi troops had started. This shows that the public briefing that Bush was giving was not aimed to alert the public of some already going on war but to rather inform them on a war that was going to start. The reason for this was that a number of information channels that had sent reporters to cover the story live. If the information was given to the press before the operation took place, it is possible that the Iraqi troops would have read from the same page as the rest of the viewers and prepared before they were attacked. The government and the military were playing the same game of tossing the public whichever side they wanted in terms of the information they were willing to give and the time they intended to release it.