20 years later: A look at Gulf War propaganda
Sunday January 16th marks the 20 year anniversary of the first Gulf War, where a UN-authorized coalition force led by the US and United Kingdom fought against Iraq for the purpose of pushing Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.
However many argue the war was really an attempt to secure access to Kuwaiti oil resource, a notion left highly undiscussed by the media at the time of the conflict. Jeff Cohen, a media critic and journalism professor at Ithaca College explained government propaganda put through the US media was highly successful during the war. “Most of the things that the American people believed about the war were false,” he said. He explained that CNN and other TV news networks dedicated their energy to covering new war technologies, such as the Patriot Missile and Smart Bombs guided by lasers. Americans later learned these technologies were actually hoaxes, and nearly complete failures. “There were hoaxes the goated the American people into supporting the war in the first place,” Cohen said. “The most classic hoax was the 300 Kuwaiti babies that were allegedly taken out of incubators and killed so that the incubators could be sent back to Iraq. It was a total falsehood.” The US media did not investigate; it merely carried and conveyed US propaganda. It based its stories on what came across as patriotic and served the war effort.“US corporate media are very close to the US political state,” Cohen explained. “We don’t have a state media here, but sometimes it looks like we do.” Today, the Internet has changed much of this, he explained. The Internet has allowed for greater information and access to more skepticism and balance. New non-corporate media sources such as Democracy Now and Daily Kos have opened the doors new media information sources.