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War as a Mediated Event

War as a Mediated Event

Since the last Gulf War, interest in the role of the media in times of war has clearly increased. Debates have not only been restricted to science, where wartime coverage has always been a relevant research topic. The media itself has also participated in discussions. In particular, much attention has been paid to the strategy of using "embedded journalists" and the biases of news coverage.


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Project Description

The "Coverage of News Coverage" of the Third Gulf War was the subject of an empirical research project. A critical observation of war coverage was reconstructed through quantitative and qualitative analyses of the media. The study, originally created in the context of the Media Critique Project, was promoted to an independent project with a new accent on the problem and with an enhancement of the empirical basis, using additional German and American print media. In this context, the possible instrumentality of media critique as a vehicle of bias for or against US politics in the Third Gulf War came to the fore.

It was possible to show that the left wing liberal and right wing conservative media spectrum focused their critical views on the different warring parties and evaluated their efforts with varying severity. While the conservative print media accused its left wing liberal competition of being anti-American, the left wing liberal print media criticised the uncritical, pro-American coverage in the conservative spectrum. The US media themselves only took a critical look at their performance months after the war ended.

Taking a broader view, an issue of M&K explored the relationship between media and politics during wartime. Guest publishers of the issue Christiane Eilders and Lutz M. Hagen included an update of the actual state of affairs of current research as a preface to the issue. The issue included articles about the presentation and effects of war coverage, as well as articles about relevant actors in war communication.


Project Information


Duration: 2004-2006

Involved persons

Third party

Cooperation Partner

Contact person

Christiane Matzen, M. A.
Head of Science Communication

Christiane Matzen, M. A.

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17 41

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