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“Sensationalism in War Reporting Revisited through Coverage of the 2003 Jessica Lynch Saga by Newsweek and Other US Media”

When the decision to start an armed conflict is under its way, the independent press usually challenges the arguments put forward by the political and military leadership to justify it, until proven wrong. In contrast, when the Superpower goes to war, the average American journalist will rather rush to the frontline. That’s when the US mainstream media behave like a battalion of reservists recently called back under orders, as if they perceived calls to subscribe to the war effort as a binding contract with the warmongering, self-proclaimed guardians of patriotism. This paper examines how Newsweek Magazine’s editorial policy contrasts with those of The New York Times, of The Washington Post and of CNN.com through their coverage of Pfc. Jessica Lynch’s capture in Iraq in 2003. The comparative study also extends to her staged liberation by US Special Forces and to her fanciful, overpublicized bravado in the desert. While Newsweek’s correspondents showed evidence of attempts to check out official statements on both sides of the conflict, some of their colleagues seemed to be struggling with the tempting appeals of sensationalistic journalism.


Auteur(s) : DIAGNE Cheick Sadibou
Pages : 427 à 448
Année de publication : 2018
Revue : ESCA Research Papers
N° de volume : 4
Type : Article
Mise en ligne par : DIAGNE Cheick Sadibou