Monday, November 03, 2003
FAIR study finds democracy poorly served by war coverage
By Steve Rendall & Tara Broughel
Since the invasion of Iraq began in March, official voices have dominated U.S. network newscasts, while opponents of the war have been notably underrepresented, according to a study by FAIR.
Starting the day after the bombing of Iraq began on March 19, the three-week study (3/20/03-4/9/03) looked at 1,617 on-camera sources appearing in stories about Iraq on the evening newscasts of six television networks and news channels. The news programs studied were ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Reports, Fox’s Special Report with Brit Hume, and PBS’s NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.*
Sources were coded by name, occupation, nationality, position on the war and the network on which they appeared. Sources were categorized as having a position on the war if they expressed a policy opinion on the news shows studied, were currently affiliated with governments or institutions that took a position on the war, or otherwise took a prominent stance. For instance, retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a hired military analyst for CNN, was not categorized as pro-war; we could find no evidence he endorsed the invasion or was affiliated with a group supporting the war. However, retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, an NBC analyst, was classified as pro-war as a board member of the Committee for a Free Iraq, a pro-war group....