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    ABTRACT CRISIS REPORTING: 91 DAYS TO THE INVASION OF IRAQ SEEN THROUGH U.S. ELITE MEDIA Elise (Lisette) Poole Interdisciplinary Studies, International Reporting (2011) Research Advisors: Diane Beeson, Ph.D., Agha K. Saeed, Ph.D.; Chair Donna Wiley, Ph.D. This study examines a consecutive 91-day reporting period in The New York Times  as it peaked leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. It analyzes the newspaper‘s role through the type and scope of information it offered the public about the admin istration’s arguments for war.  A content and quantification analysis method using 1, 038 articles is illustrated in charts, graphs and tables to determine whether the reporting (a) balanced American government or military voices on the subject of weapons of mass destruction, and Iraqi affected groups; (b) fairly represented military achievements or movements with possible massive damage to-- institutions of law and order, infrastructure, public health, the environment and to civil order, resulting from expected massive high ordnance bombing; (c) represented the voices of Iraqis or other Arab/Islamic/antiwar groups in the conflict. The study reaches back to the Civil War for historical context to show, with examples, the media-government relation pattern set then and followed in each U.S. intervention, except Vietnam, up to the latest in Iraq when the Internet disrupted it as The Times  readers could compare their information to that from other sources. Results from this study, as reflected in the data extracted from this research, may be useful for (a) understanding the type of pressures administration and military officials can bring to bear upon the media in times of war and how news stories about a country designated as an “enemy” are reported; (b) journalism educators to demonstrate to reporters and editors the pitfalls they should avoid, and to be aware of incidents when the interests of the U.S. military and politicians override those of the US media; and to seek out ways to resist them, and be independent of government; (c) helping readers understand how newspapers see their role as the public’s watchdog, and how they interpret their task during periods of national crisis.
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