Study claims some journalists favour “good news” from Iraq

A university study has found some news organisations have been more likely to report “good news” from the Coalition during the current war in Iraq than others.

The University of Manchester study claims that Sky News and ITV are most likely to report the Coalition’s “good news”, Channel Four least likely and BBC News somewhere in the middle.

The study claims that The Sun gave “most explicit support to Coalition operations” and that most newspaper coverage was supportive of the military campaign.

Dr Piers Robinson, who led the study, said: “Coverage of the war was narrated largely through the voice of the Coalition with much less attention given to other actors.

"This suggests that factors such as reliance upon elite sources, patriotism and news values rooted in episodic coverage continue to be important in shaping war-time coverage.

"Most reports did not discuss WMD at all but of those that did, 54 per cent TV and 61 per cent of newspapers made substantial reference to the Weapons of Mass Destruction rationale for war in unproblematic terms, reinforcing the Coalition argument.

"Coverage overwhelmingly reflected the official line on the moral case for war: over 80 per cent of TV and press stories mirrored the government position and less than 12 per cent challenged it.

"Controversial issues such as civilian casualties and anti-war protest accounted for considerably less than 10 per cent of news stories across both TV and newspapers.”

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