Propaganda During The Gulf War: Television And The Media

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The Persian Gulf War in 1991 is said to have the most successful public relation organizations in the history of politics and it’s usage of media to support the war. In this case study we will mainly be discussing about the propaganda campaign which was used by the Bush administration in relation with the Gulf War. Firstly to give some clarity the case study will discuss about the definition of Propaganda with some examples of how the states used the media against peoples to support the war and then a brief history of Iraq as well as the relationship between the states and Iraq before the Gulf War. This case study will help to analyze the role of media such as television, news farming, CNN and what role they played during the war. All in all this essay will also help us analyze the implications of the war and its relationship with the Middle East.

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Definition of Propaganda

As the dictionary defines ‘propaganda’ as a word which is often used in negative sense, especially for the politicians who have made false news or either they claim to get elected. In other words any organization that is used to persuade people’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviors, spreading ideas, informations or rumors to help a cause or a situation can be called as propaganda. While propaganda has been used over decades of years, just then the advancement of new technologies was evolved where it allowed us to spread information to larger masses and it later became a scientific process whereby it was capable of influencing the whole nation of people. Propaganda was trending to various parts of countries; it was constantly being used by different countries by the politicians, in times of wars and to gain economics and social means through the modern propaganda; ‘modern propaganda’ tends to use all sorts of mediums to spread information including press, Radio, film, posters, online, social applications, books, plays and many more. The current most popular social means are shown through television where even the uneducated peoples have access to it. The candidate uses propaganda technique to showcase and compete to win against their competitors or in other words propaganda is fully being utilized by the use of media especially in its portrayal of countries that have nuclear technologies.

In the above context it clearly shows that the United State fully used propaganda technique with the help of the media to gain the support of public against the war on Iraq, however the reaction of the media was quite opposite. The media presented the news to debate over going to the Gulf War around the world. It was later when the media of United Stated and the States aligned together to give a completely false news which stated that there was a great threat to Saudi Arabia from Iraq at the beginning of the war when later it was reported that Iraq army had no interest in Saudi Arabia. And according to Sir Bennett the US had made all this implications through media just because Saddam was gaining more power in the region which was taken by the media. President Bush’s speech failed to gain public support when he said that “this fight isn’t about the oil; it’s about naked aggression”. He also pointed out Sadam for the ill-treatment of young Kuwait girls. But according to New York Times source Bush allied and planned out the witness in Kuwait to gain attention of publics and war against Iraq where by the Iraq soldiers had detached several babies from the incubator leaving them for dead. This implication of the story is important since it changed the mind of Amnesty international’s view on commenting on gulf war. It was the thought that influenced the government who were at that time voting for the war against Iraq. However, it was said that president Bush and the Kuwait administration had been working together on public opinion and situation which was developing. So thus it can be argued that United Sates made it possible and gained the public support through various forms of media. The propaganda ended in summer 1990, and President Bush was successful in gaining the public support. According to one of the report the result of propaganda said that 60% of the public stated that the president acted according to the situation in Kuwait and Iraq.

Brief history about Iraq and its Relation with the States

The population of Iraq is over three million according to the BBC news. There are many peoples following different religions such as Islamic, Shia, Sunni and many more. Iraq is situated in the Middle East and is known for its rich natural petroleum and gas which acts as the main source of exports of the country. Iraq is said to be under British rule from 1917 till 1932, only then it gained its sovereignty, it is also reported that before the gulf war Iraq was also involved in an eight year war with Iran over geographical disagreement. Sadam Hussein is said to be the newly elected president just before the Iran-Iraq war, He as a president carried a lot of unforgivable actions like killing the peoples of Iran, mass murder, taking peoples into custody who opposed him and his ideologies. He was also engaged in nepotism and developed a huge army institution which later grew very powerful. Sadam Hussein also became the richest nation by its profit made by the natural oil and petroleum thus Iraq had improved health care, education and travelling facilities. It is stated that that the Iraq and the United States had strong relationship until the Middle East became threatened by the invasion of the Kuwait by Iraq. This had caused United State to be concerning over the fact that Saudi Arabia was now vulnerable to Iraq. After the successful destruction of Kuwait city and eight years of Iran war; Iraq and Sadam was said to have felt that they have the chance of becoming the most powerful leader among the Arab countries.

Television, News Framing and CNN

According to the author Allen et al CNN had a great impact on the gulf war as it used techniques of priming and framing whereby it only showed the parts that they wanted to show, that would promote to have war and how it would be profitable for the US on its war against Iraq. They primed the audience by having the 30min show, the program tied the audience with theatrical melodies and shows including the pictures of the both the presidents of Iraq and the states along with the heroic images and troop. Another part of framing was the term called “human shield” which was used 2588 times throughout the war. This particular word meant a person being held captive. And it personalized the whole war for the American public instead of showing the whole mass and the death of the human lives, CNN was said to be focused on glorifying and complementing the American action. Sadam Hussein as well used the propaganda against the states however the States made the fuller utilization of the media and as a result it turned against them.


To conclude this easy has just outlined how the US used the media to rally support the gulf war and gain people’s support against the Iraq war and discussed about the definition of Propaganda with some examples of how the states used the media against peoples to support the war and then a brief history of Iraq as well as the relationship between the states and Iraq before the gulf war. We also analyzed about the case study and the role of media such as television, news farming, CNN and what role they played during the war. The gulf war continued to give negative effects on public relation and weekend Sadam’s influence over the region. We also concluded that the gulf war was one of the tragic events of September 11th 2001.


  1. Algosaibi, Ghazi A. The gulf war crisis; an attempt to understand. London: Kegan INTERNATIONAL 1933 PRINT.(BOOK)
  2. BBC world news. 15 December 2003. web.3 december 2013
01 February 2021

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