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Mass Media and Attitudes to the Gulf War in Britain
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The Electronic Journal of Communication / La Revue Electronique de Communication
***** SHAW & CARR-HILL **** EJC/REC Vol. 2, No. 1, 1991 ***


Martin Shaw and Roy Carr-Hill
University of Hull

        Abstract.  During the Gulf War, the US-led
     coalition was able to exercise unprecedented
     control over news coverage of the war.  Most
     television and press coverage in the United
     Kingdom, as elsewhere, systematically minimized
     the violence which was taking place.  National
     opinion polls, commissioned by the media, reported
     overwhelming support for the war.  This article
     reports on two surveys of a local population in
     Northern England, based on random samples of the
     electorate, which were designed to test how fully
     such headline poll findings represented the
     feelings of people about the war.  It argues that
     while perceptions of the war closely reflected the
     pictures of the war provided by the media, there
     was a great deal of anxiety not reflected in
     national poll findings, and "resistance" to media
     coverage -- reflected particularly in the finding
     that large minorities agreed that television and
     the popular press "glorified the war too much."
     The article explores the influence of newspaper
     readership, finding this a sharper differentiator
     of attitudes than age, sex, class, party
     affiliation, or experience of war and the
     military.  The authors conclude that attitudes to
     the war, and the influence of mass media, were
     both more complex and more contradictory than most
     opinion polls suggested during the conflict.

Media and Warfare

     The public debate about media and warfare has been
bedeviled by propositions of simple, unilinear effects.  On
the one hand, it has been widely believed, especially by
political and military leaders, that television and other
media tend -- left to themselves -- to undermine war
efforts.  The source of this belief is the myth that
television coverage of the Vietnam War undermined popular
support for the war in the USA and elsewhere in the Western
world, and hence contributed to the Americans' defeat in
that war.  This myth has been shown by academic research to
be based on dubious arguments and information,[1] but it has
remained influential among government leaders and military
planners.  It clearly inspired the extremely tight and
apparently successful control of information and media
access by the UK in the Falklands/Malvinas War, which was in
turn copied by the USA in the invasions of Grenada and
Panama.  These smaller operations then provided the models
for the news management of Operations Desert Shield and
Desert Storm in 1990-91.

     The alternative simplification of the relationship of
media and warfare, which gains credibility from precisely
these efforts of state authorities to manipulate media for
their own ends, is the critical version according to which
media function simply to reproduce the requirements of
power.  Just as official doctrines give too much credibility
to the critical effects of media in order to maximize the
case for control, however, so critical doctrines sometimes
give too much credibility to the manipulative successes of
governments, militaries and media controllers.

     Sophisticated variants of the latter thesis are to be
found in some of the sociological theories of contemporary
militarism, which emphasize that in a society which has
moved beyond mass militarism (a "post-military society," as
one of us has described it elsewhere[2]), mediated images of
weapons and war are central to the social consumption of
military power.  According to Mann, for example, popular
militarism now takes a "spectator sport" form, in which
members of Western societies consume war as
entertainment.[3] Similarly, Luckham argues that we have an
"armament culture," in which images of weaponry are diffused
by mass media into popular culture, just as it becomes
central to armed forces and international relations

     Such theories have two manifest weaknesses, which Shaw
has discussed more fully in the book referred to above.[5]
First, like so many theories of media, they concentrate on
the production rather than on the consumption of mediated
images.  And second, although Mann has extended his argument
to actual war situations -- arguing provocatively that in
terms of the presentation of weaponry in the media, "wars
like the Falklands or the Grenada invasion are not
qualitatively different from the Olympic Games"[6] -- these
theories are primarily based on the role of images and ideas
of war in peacetime situations, not during actual conflicts.

     These theoretical issues have reverberated in British
studies of the media during the Falklands War.  On the one
hand, the Glasgow University Media Group, who carried out a
content analysis of television news coverage, argued that
"we have here a situation in which television selectively
informs people's attitudes, then selectively reports on what
those attitudes are, and finally ... uses this version of
public opinion to justify its own approach to reporting."[7]
The Glasgow group gave credence to conflicts within the
media, and between the media and the state, chiefly to the
extent that they saw journalists arguing that they rather
than the state should be the agents of control.  Morrison
and Tumber, on the other hand, who conducted an ethnographic
study of Journalists at War, saw many genuine tensions
between and among reporters and editors pursuing
journalistic goals on the one hand and military and
political would-be censors on the other.  They also carried
out audience research, which showed these conflicts
extending among viewers and readers.  They concluded that
the war had been an important test of "popular broadcasting
culture" in Britain, with its central notions of the
autonomy of broadcasting from political control.[8] This
research represented a movement towards a more sophisticated
framework for analyzing the role of media in war.

     The present study also rejects the often simplistic
terms in which debate about media and warfare has been
polarized.  It is based on a perspective which emphasizes
that, within a framework of complex and unequal power
relations between political/military authorities, media
controllers and journalists, and the public as consumers of
media products, both conflict and more subtle
differentiation occur over the issues raised by war.  This
paper looks at the "consumer" end of the role of media in
the Gulf: it presents and analyzes evidence of the
differentiation of attitudes to the war, the role of
television and especially newspaper readership in forming
these attitudes, and of attitudes to the media coverage
itself.  In order to contextualize this discussion, however,
we begin with a (necessarily schematic) examination of media
coverage in the war.

The Mediation of Violence in the Gulf Conflict

     Each war is prepared for in terms of the last
comparable previous conflict.  For the USA, Vietnam was the
critical benchmark in the preparations for the Gulf -- not
just in the political debate but, as we have noted, in the
administration's and the military's preparations to achieve
media control.  For Britain, the Gulf was compared with the
Falklands -- the lack of political debate and the agenda for
media control both reflected the 1982 crisis.  The Labour
opposition was afraid of the political damage which
criticizing the government's war policy might have caused
them, as it was thought to have done in the Falklands case.
Nevertheless the (curiously few) opinion polls which were
taken (or publicized) before the January 16 offensive showed
a sharp division of opinion over the immediate resort to the
war option, similar to that which was evident in the USA.
This indicated a problem for the management of public
opinion, which was quickly suppressed in intensive polling
during the six weeks of the war itself, but which (our more
extensive research shows) continued to manifest itself once
a wider range of questions were canvassed.  It was this
problem, we may speculate, to which the policies of
political-military news managers, and to a more problematic
extent of editors and media controllers (if not the
journalists themselves), were largely addressed.

     The conformity of the media in Britain during the Gulf
War to official views was certainly overdetermined: by the
efficient US-organized coalition control of information; by
the Iraqis' own apparent censorship which blocked
information on the losses they were sustaining; by the lack
of domestic political legitimation for criticism of
coalition policy; and by a desire on the part of both media
and government to learn from their conflicts during the
Falklands war and produce an operational framework which
would preserve a degree of journalistic autonomy within a
context of military-political control.  In the case of much
of the tabloid press, it was compounded by a synthetic
jingoism, seeking to reproduce (unsuccessfully, many argued,
given the very different context of the Gulf) the patriotic
aura of the Falklands war.[9] Only in some of the "quality"
papers, especially in the liberal Independent and Guardian,
were there sustained efforts to break through the "screening
off" of the realities of the war by the official control of
information, but even these publications were severely
hampered by the difficulties of access to most of the actual

     It is beyond the remit of this paper to attempt a full
account of the processes by which the flow of information
was structured, but it is important to indicate their scope.
It is certainly arguable that British controls went further
than many: the BBC's banning of 67 popular songs and of
comedy films and series with a vaguely military theme, and
the banning by a minority channel of a series of Vietnamese
films, indicated a level of general cultural control which
went beyond the political or military censorship which was
evident in all the countries directly involved in the
conflict.[10] This was reflected in the wider cultural
establishment, for example in the Victoria and Albert
Museum's banning of an exhibition, "The Art of Death," which
included tombstones, mourning fans and funeral loaves.

     The denial of death in such policies may have
reflected, as the organizer of this exhibition commented, a
"peculiarly 20th century attitude."[11] It also reflected
something more specific, however: the coalition's general
desire -- taken to extreme lengths in the UK -- to minimize
or even negate the violence of the war, by avoiding
anything, from British or US "body bags" to film of the
Iraqi victims of air attacks, which could have brought home
the reality of the war.  In general, this was very
successfully achieved, at least during January and February
1991, even if it could not be so easily maintained in the
aftermath of the war.

     British television, and most press, coverage of the
early phase of the war emphasized its high-technology
efficiency: film was widely shown of American fighter
pilots' describing their assaults -- "exactly like the
movies," "Baghdad was lit up like a Christmas tree.  It was
tremendous!," "It was kinda neat."[12] Television news
frequently, but not always, matched this description of a
BBC bulletin: "a very muscular and loyalist affair, straight
out of Biggles[13]: our top guns on bridge- busting, Israeli
jets zapping Palestinians around Sidon, the B- 52s lumbering
into Fairford and a almost black and blank screen from
Baghdad courtesy of CNN."[14] Even the land war, with its
instant success, was widely presented in a glamorous light,
at least until the extent of the carnage was revealed.  The
image of a local evening paper advertising "Land War: Sunday
Colour Special," sandwiched between billboards for a "Big
Fight Sensation" and "City Match Report," evoked the
sporting metaphor for war.[15] Cutaway diagrams of
Challenger battle tanks and F- 15E fighters covered the
center-fold of the children's supplement to a "quality"

     A tension had begun to develop in the television
coverage by the second week of February: the Independent
Television News bulletin, of the same evening as the BBC
report quoted above, "showed Iraqi pictures of civilian
damage and spoke of children dying, with the corrective
remark that the Iraqis had stolen the incubators from
Kuwaiti hospitals."[17] The official media campaign faltered
more decisively on 13 February, when confronted with rare
unexpected failure in the form of the bombing of the Baghdad
shelter, believed to be a military communications center, in
which hundreds of civilians were killed.  It was at this
point that significant parts of the media departed in their
coverage from the smooth track which the military had
provided for them.[18] The BBC's coverage, which included
film of shrouded remains of the victims as well as a tour of
the shelter's charred interior, led to charges of treachery
from some Conservative Members of Parliament -- who dubbed
the BBC the "Baghdad Broadcasting Corporation."  Here there
were shades of the conflicts of television and government
which had characterized the Falklands War.

     Apart from this incident, virtually no bodies or
injured people (a few Israeli victims were probably the only
exceptions) appeared on any television screens or in any
newspapers until the war was practically over.  There was
certainly little intimation, in most of the reporting, of
the real violence involved in the attacks.  Video film of
missiles approaching their targets was released -- but not
the film of the horrified face of an Iraqi lorry driver a
split second away from death.  The campaign was
systematically presented as an attack on things -- weapons,
transporters, bridges, buildings -- but not on people.[19]
There was a deliberate denial of the violence actually being
perpetrated on human beings.  Only in the final stages of
the land war (when neither the outcome nor the duration of
the war was seriously in doubt) did the massacre of Mutla
Ridge lead to some brief snatches of gruesome realism.
There was extraordinarily little speculation about the
numbers of Iraqi military casualties until the war was over;
then US and UK military sources began to divulge their
horrific estimates of anything from 40,000 to 200,000
killed, which made their way at least into the serious

     A further element of denial was the refusal, or
transfer, of responsibility by leaders, which was faithfully
reproduced by the British media.  When American planes
bombed the bunker in Baghdad in which several hundred
civilians were killed, there were many attempts to blame
Saddam Hussein for this grisly mistake, arguing either that
he should not have placed civilians in a place which also
had a military function, or more extremely that he had
deliberately placed civilians there so as to make political
capital out of their deaths.  One British newspaper
headlined this story "Victims of Saddam" -- which was true
enough at one level, but which denied any responsibility to
those who had actually launched the missiles which killed
those in the bunker.[20]

     The issue of responsibility for killing and death
emerged with a vengeance, however, as a result of the
Kurdish crisis.  Just as President Bush, who had called for
the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, found himself being blamed
for the slaughter of Shi'ite and Kurdish rebels by the Iraqi
army, so British Prime Minister John Major, whose first
reaction to the Kurdish tragedy had been to say that "I
don't recall asking the Kurds to mount this particular
insurrection,"[21] was forced within a week -- at least in
part by critical media coverage -- to propose Western
intervention to protect the victims of Iraqi repression.

     People in Britain, as in other Western societies, were
therefore generally (but as the Kurdish case shows not
completely) insulated not only from the immediate reality
and direct threat of violence (marginal and sporadic
terrorist incidents apart), but also, to a very large
extent, from information about and images of the ways in
which these realities and threats were affecting people in
Iraq.  It was not surprising in this context, and given the
plausible political case against Saddam Hussein's invasion
of Iraq (which was condemned even by opponents of the war),
that opinion polls in Britain showed massive majorities
supporting the war.  An initial 80 percent level of approval
rose to around 90 percent in many polls, enabling one
newspaper to claim "an extraordinary degree of unanimity,
unprecedented in modern times towards any policy."[22]

     Nevertheless, our assumption was that the lives of
people in these societies were linked by a whole set of
abstract relationships to the violence of the war.  As
Giddens points out in his recent work on modernity, the
transformation of relationships of time and space means the
involvement of people in distant risks and dangers, and a
well-distributed awareness of these.  "Disembedding
mechanisms" in social relations (the dislocation of social
relations from given temporal and spatial contexts) have, he
argues, "provided large areas of security," but "the new
array of risks which have thereby been brought into being
are truly formidable."  The circumstances in which we live
today have as a result a "menacing appearance."[23] In the
Gulf War, many people who were not directly threatened
nevertheless felt themselves to be living with the dangerous
situation which was developing thousands of miles away.
Abstract relationships and personal involvement were not --
of course -- opposed, but interrelated[24]: some people in
Britain were living with this tension in a much more
personal way than others.

     Based on these considerations, our hypotheses were,
first, that despite their "support" for the war, many people
would have responses of a more complex character to its
"distant" violence, as well as to the political issues
involved; and second, that these responses would be
structured not only by social relations reflecting
differences of age, sex, class, party identification, and
prior military/wartime experience, but also by their
exposure to different media.  We reasoned that since the
media provided not only virtually all the information about
the war available to respondents (either directly or through
others), but also day-by- day interpretations of this
information, people's differential access to media resources
would play a significant part in structuring these
differences of response.  In particular, we thought it
important (despite the primacy of television due to the
immediacy of its coverage) to investigate the effects of
newspaper exposure, since newspapers offered much more
detailed and far more differentiated interpretative

The Survey Research

     In order to deconstruct the apparently simple
"supportive" characterization of public opinion about the
Gulf War, we planned two surveys, the first during the
aerial attack phase of the war, and the second after the
commencement of the land war.  As it turned out, the first
survey was carried out during February, 1991, during the
latter half of the war, and the second in April- May, during
the immediate aftermath.  The data from the first survey
were analyzed in March, 1991 and published in a research
report at the end of that month.[25] This article reports
chiefly on the data from the first survey, along with some
preliminary results from the second survey.

     The surveys were based on random samples of the local
population in Hull (a Labour-voting Northern industrial
working- class city) and Beverley (its adjacent
Conservative-voting middle-class suburban area).  Although
we cannot claim that the area is typical in all ways of the
population of the UK, and indeed there are some recognizable
biases in our sample (e.g., a small over-representation of
Labour voters compared to the national situation, and a
virtual absence of ethnic minorities), there was no reason
why Hull/Beverley people should have had substantially
different attitudes to the war from those of the population
nationally.  Indeed, asking a question about basic
approval/disapproval of the war which had been asked by a
national poll, we too obtained 80 percent approval from our
sample, so that we can claim some correspondence between
ours and national polls.  Our interest, moreover, was in
exploring relationships between different aspects of
attitudes to the war and a range of social and media
variables, rather than to engage in precise, predictive
opinion polling in the sense in which this is carried out in
(for example) electoral contexts.

     Our selection of a random sample from the electoral
register avoided the recognized dangers of quota
samples[26], on which all national UK opinion polls are
based.  For our first survey, mail questionnaires were sent
to 1300 people between February 7 and 11, and replies were
coded by the date of the postmark; by February 22, when a
ceasefire was imminent, we had received approximately 500
replies, giving a response rate of nearly 40 percent.
Especially given that the register we used had been compiled
in October 1989, and therefore included many who had moved
or died, this was a good response, which compares well with
other postal questionnaires in similar situations.[27]

     The first questionnaire included 29 questions about the
politics of the war, perceptions of the coalition attacks,
attitudes to violence and to the media coverage, and a set
of socio-demographic and other identity questions.  The
substantive questions, framed in mid-January at the very
beginning of the war, were of course asked in a general way
(in the second survey, we were able to ask far more specific
questions about events which occurred later in the
conflict).  The actual questions asked in the first survey
are included in an Appendix.

     For our second survey, questionnaires were sent to
approximately 400 of the original respondents (those who had
agreed to receive a second questionnaire), together with
almost 1000 additional people also drawn at random from the
same electoral register.  The second questionnaires were
sent out at the end of March, one month after the end of the
war, and replies came in during April and the beginning of
May -- effectively the period of the Kurdish crisis,
although our questions, framed in advance, did not
specifically mention this.  Despite the fact that the
urgency of the war itself had disappeared, our overall
response rate was still only just under 40 percent (although
lower among the new element of our sample).  We have not yet
carried out a full analysis of this second survey, and only
some overall findings have been included in the discussion
below; with one exception (Table 5), the second wave data
are from only the new respondents, in order to avoid any
response bias stemming from repeated testing.  (Ongoing
analyses are exploring the extent of this bias.)

Attitudes to Media Coverage

     Large majorities of our first sample regularly watched
television news of the war (90 percent), read the local
evening paper (72 percent) and read a national (or regional)
daily newspaper (65 percent).[28] Clearly, the overwhelming
majority of the sample obtained their knowledge of the war
from these three media (and from radio, about which we
unfortunately did not ask questions in this survey).  Of
course, it is likely that people also often obtained
information from others who were attending to these media,
and most people certainly processed their media-based
information through discussion in face-to-face situations;
yet these media were ultimately the dominant sources of
information, and exposure to them was very high.  In terms
of alternative information sources, only a small minority, 5
percent, reported that a member of their immediate family
was in the Gulf, and for them there may have been some
direct (though delayed) input of information from the
theatre of war.

     Overwhelmingly, people reported that they watched
television news for information, although a substantial
minority also said that they watched because they were
worried.  Only 5 percent, almost exclusively younger men,
reported that they were fascinated or excited by the war.
Among those not watching television news, worry was a major
factor (especially among a few of those with family members
stationed in the Gulf), although boredom was also cited by a

     We asked three sets of questions directly about
television coverage.  Overall, 60 percent of our respondents
found it "informative," while 25 percent found it "too
informative" and 16 percent found it "not informative
enough."  However, we divided our sample between the 202 who
replied early in the conflict, before the Baghdad bunker
bombing referred to above (which as we have noted was a
landmark in the television coverage), and the 307 who
replied after this incident (in 51 cases the postmark was
illegible).  We found a decline in the proportion finding
the coverage to be "too informative" (see Table 1), which
was statistically significant when "too informative" was
compared with the other two categories combined.  Fewer
respondents may have complained about over-informativeness
because the coverage had become less bland, or because the
level of coverage was itself reduced from the early
saturation levels.


Table 1.   Views of the informativeness of television coverage

                      Too       Inform-  Informative
Date posted        informative  ative      Enough        N
----------------   -----------  -------  -----------   -----

On/Before 13 Feb       30         56         14         202
After 13 Feb           22         62         17         307

(Chi-square = 4.43, d.f. = 2, p = .10; with "Too informative" vs.
the other two categories combined, chi square = 4.40, d.f. = 1,


     We also asked about patriotism in television coverage.
Overall, 68 percent found it "patriotic," with minorities of
around 16 percent each finding it "too patriotic" and "not
patriotic enough."  There was a small, non-significant,
increase (from 12 to 18 percent) in the proportion seeing
television news as "unpatriotic" after the Baghdad bombing.

     We also asked, however, whether television news
reflected "a sensible attitude to the war," "glorified the
war too much," or was "too critical of the war."  Overall,
59 percent of our sample found that it was "sensible," a
figure which did not change over time.  However, the
minority seeing television coverage as "glorifying" the war
was as large as 40 percent before the Baghdad bombing, but
fell to 29 percent afterwards; while the minority which saw
television as "too critical" was a miniscule 2 percent
before, but a more significant 13 percent among later
respondents (see Table 2).  These figures represent strong
evidence, first of a substantial tendency of viewers to see
television as involved in an uncritical glorification of the
war, and secondly of the effect of the bunker bombing.
Nevertheless, only a small minority endorsed the "too
critical" position even after the bunker incident.  Even
among Conservative voters, more saw television as
over-glorifying the war than saw it as too critical, despite
Conservative politicians' criticisms of the BBC over this


Table 2.   Views of television coverage (percentages)

Date posted          too much    Sensible   Too critical     N
----------------     ---------   --------   ------------   -----
On/Before 13 Feb        40          58            2         189
After 13 Feb            29          59           13         288

All                     33          59            8         477

(Chi-square = 18.7, d.f. = 4, p<.001)


     In responses to the same question in our second survey
(after the war ended), again 36 percent saw television as
"over- glorifying" and only 6 percent as "too critical,"
indicating the strength of the overall impressions, once the
impact of the specific incident had subsided.  When asked
specifically about the incident, however, 57 percent of
respondents agreed that it was right for television to have
shown the shrouded bodies of the bunker victims, compared to
35 percent who disagreed.

     Asking the same basic questions about national
newspaper coverage, we found that, in general, even smaller
minorities adopted critical positions about the coverage
than was the case for television (see Table 3).


Table 3.   Evaluations of newspaper read (all national papers;

   Too informative          8           Too patriotic         19
   Informative             81           Patriotic             74
   Not informative enough  11           Not patriotic enough   7

   Glorified war too much  30           Satisfied with
   Sensible attitude       65            coverage             77
   Too critical of war      5           Dissatisfied          16


     The differences between the findings for newspapers and
television may reflect the fact that in the former case we
were asking about a more differentiated product, and in the
latter about a more uniform product.  Although there were,
as we have indicated, some differences between BBC and
independent television coverage of the war, and between
programs, these were not sharply defined and our judgment
was that it would have made little sense to ask people about
programs or channels when the television coverage was
largely so uniform in character.

     People generally select a higher or lower level of
information in choosing their newspaper, so that
informativeness on particular issues is measured against
varying bases.  Issues such as those raised by the Gulf War
were liable, however, to raise demands for levels of
information different from those normally accepted.  In the
case of the Sun and Star, the two most downmarket (and
Conservative/warmongering) national tabloids, for example,
15 percent of readers found their paper "too informative,"
but equally 16 percent found it "not informative enough."
Among readers of the Daily Mirror, the Sun's Labour-
oriented mass circulation rival, only 7 percent found their
paper too informative, and hardly any (3 percent) found it
not informative enough.  In contrast, very few readers of
middle- market tabloids (4 percent) found their papers too
informative, and among readers of the quality dailies, there
was generally little dissatisfaction on either count.  On
the whole, readers of downmarket tabloids were clearly far
less satisfied with their level of information than were
those of other papers.  (This finding was repeated in our
second survey.)

     A similar pattern can be seen in replies to our
question about the patriotism of national newspapers.
Almost a quarter of Sun and Star readers found their papers
too patriotic, as did almost a fifth of Mirror readers
(although 11 percent also found it unpatriotic); the figures
for the middle-market and quality papers were lower.  Levels
of agreement that newspapers over- glorified the war
followed a similar but more pronounced pattern.  There is a
statistically significant difference in the extent to which
respondents assessed their own paper as informative and
whether or not their own paper glorified the war (see Table
4).  With a standard error of difference equal to about 7%,
both the Sun and Star and the qualities are considerably
different from average.  Considering that tabloid readers,
especially of the most downmarket papers, choose their
papers knowing of their sensational and generally (with the
exception of the Mirror) right-wing attitudes, these levels
of consumer resistance are significant.  Morrison and
Tumber's post-Falklands survey also found greater
"dissatisfaction" among tabloid than among quality
readers[29], but our survey, by asking about the tendency of
media to "glorify" war, seems to have shown a larger
critical tendency even among readers who, overall, did not
actually claim to be dissatisfied with their papers'


Table 4.   Evaluation of national newspapers' coverage of and
           attitudes to the war, by type of newspaper read

                      Informative:         Glorifies     Too
                  Too much  Not enough     too much    critical
                  --------  ----------     --------    ---------
Sun/Star             15        16             41          6
Daily Mirror          7         3             25          5
Other tabloids        4        20             35          9
Quality               5         9              7          4

All papers            8        12             28          6

                    Chi square = 26          Chi square = 31
                       d.f. = 9                 d.f. = 9
                        p=.002                   p=.003


Media and Perceptions of the War

     The first sample was asked to choose the one or two
most appropriate descriptions of the initial bombing
campaign (see Question 8 in the Appendix).  Most endorsed
the dominant views propounded via television and the tabloid
press (see Table 5).  Even after the war, those who were
approached for the first time on the second survey gave very
similar responses.  Although non-significant, there does
however appear to be some tendency for those who are
replying for the second time to give more warlike responses.


Table 5.   Perceptions of initial aerial strikes (percentages)

             strikes/                Intensive    Like
             minimum      Brave      bombing/     video
             casualties   sorties    casualties   games      N
             ----------   -------    ----------   -----    -----
survey          82          41           8          5       560

  Repeats       86          45           6          4       236
  New           80          33           9          8       271


     At the same time, almost all the sample recognized that
more lives had been lost by Iraq than by any other nation.
However, asked to choose the description of the Baghdad
shelter bombing which they found most acceptable, no fewer
than 36 percent agreed that Saddam Hussein had placed
civilians in the bunker in order to make propaganda from
their deaths, 24 percent agreed that it had been a military
shelter correctly bombed, and a further 21 percent agreed
with the statement that there are always casualties in war.
Only 11 percent saw the bunker as a civilian shelter bombed
by mistake.  On the issue which created the most conflict
over the role of television, therefore, the majority agreed
either with a statement which attributed blame for the
results of coalition attacks to the enemy (a line which was
promoted by much of the tabloid press), or with the military
justification of the attack.  Only a small minority appeared
to have received and accepted the "critical" message that
there had been a coalition mistake, the danger of which was
argued by the right-wing critics of the BBC.  Breakdowns of
these findings according to newspaper readership are very
revealing: readers of quality newspapers were far more
likely, for example, to see the bunker bombing as a mistake,
as Table 6 shows.


Table 6.   Perceptions of the bombing of the Baghdad shelter*, by
           newspaper read (percentages)

               Military  Civilian   Saddam      Casualties
               center    shelter    propaganda  of war       N
               --------  ---------  ----------  ----------  ----
Sun/Star          21          9         58         12        33
Daily Mirror      30          6         32         32        47
Other tabloid     28          7         39         26        34
Quality           19         45         13         23        19

All respondents   26         14         36         24       168

(Chi-square = 39.2, d.f. = 9. p=.000)

* Respondents were asked: "On February 13, Coalition planes
  bombed a shelter in Baghdad, causing hundreds of civilians to
  be killed.  Which of the following statements is closest to
  your view of this incident:
   - It was a military communications center as well as a shelter,
     and the coalition was right to attack it;
   - It was a civilian shelter and the coalition bombed it by
   - Saddam Hussein put civilians in the shelter so as to make
     propaganda if it was attacked;
   - It was war and there will always be casualties;
   - None of these/don't know.


     A similar pattern of perceptions applies to the killing
of Iraqi troops during their retreat from Kuwait. 65 percent
of respondents saw this as justified in order to destroy the
Iraqi military machine, in addition to 13 percent who saw it
as necessary to win the war.  Only 15 percent agreed that it
was unjustified as the war was already won.

     There is, moreover, plausible evidence of the
misleading effect of media coverage in the answers to
another question, asking what proportion of over 100,000
sorties flown by the coalition had been flown by British
airmen (see Table 7).


Table 7.   Perceptions of the United Kingdom's role in the war
           (percentages; error due to rounding)

                              Less                       Less
                              than                       than
                              30%     30-10%   10-5%     5%
Proportion of Coalition       -----   ------   -----     -----
sorties flown by RAF
(correct answer <5%)           42       40       16        3

Most important countries                       Saudi
in anti-Iraq Coalition*       USA       UK     Arabia    Other
                              ---      ----    ------    -----
1st                            87        7        3        3
2nd                             7       76       17        0

* Respondents were asked to rank the following countries in terms
  of their importance in the Coalition: Egypt, France, Italy,
  Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UK, USA.


     Perceptions clearly reflected, however, more than media
coverage, as people interpreted information in accordance
with their own views.  Asked, for example, about which
leaders had been "for" and "against" the war, Labour voters,
who were themselves more likely to oppose the war than were
Conservatives (p=.000), were also more likely to see the
Labour leader, Neil Kinnock, as having opposed the war
(p<.10).  In fact, Kinnock's position had been carefully
nuanced, with a calculated appeal to different sections of
his constituency -- support for the war combined with regret
that sanctions had not been pursued longer.  Interestingly,
Labour voters were also likely to see other potentially
ambiguous figures, such as the Liberal Democrats' leader,
Paddy Ashdown, and the Archbishop of Canterbury at the
outbreak of war, Dr.  Runcie, as having been anti-war (both
p<.10).  This is demonstrated in Table 8.


Table 8.  Perceptions of political leaders' positions on the war,
          by voting intention* (second survey, new respondents:

                                      Seen as "opposed to war":
Voting               Disapproving    ----------------------------
intention            of war          Kinnock    Ashdown    Runcie
-------------------  ------------    -------    -------    ------
Conservative (N=52)        2            15        17        49
Labour (N=56)             18            21        33        63
Other** (N=60)            16            30        30        69

Chi square              34.6           5.0       5.7       5.8
d.f.                       4             2         2         2
p                       .000           .08       .06       .06

* Respondents were asked, "Which of the following public figures
  do you think were in favour, and which opposed to the war:
  Major, Kinnock, Ashdown, Heath, Benn, the Pope, the Archbishop
  of Canterbury (Runcie)," and given the choice of "For War,
  Against War, Don't Know" in each case.

** Other includes Liberal Democrat, Green, Don't Know and
   Wouldn't Vote, as numbers in each category were too small to
   analyze separately.


     Underlying perceptions of the issues in the war also
appeared to reflect media coverage.  The British national
"myth of war," derived from Second World War experience
(according to which dictators should not be appeased, but
resisted by military force),[30] was widely applied to the
Iraqi situation by tabloid newspapers, even more than by
Conservative politicians.  Our research showed that far more
tabloid readers believed that Saddam Hussein was like
Hitler, and/or that that he was mad, than quality newspaper
readers (for details, see Table 10 below).

Media and Attitudes to the War

     Our research was designed to provide a broader base of
information than that given by the national polls, against
which to interpret "public opinion" on the war.  We were
concerned to identify aspects of people's responses to the
war which were not revealed in press-sponsored opinion
research, framed largely by the political options canvassed
in official quarters at the time.  We wished to go beyond
the headline poll findings to examine the broader range of
feelings about and attitudes to the war which people held.
The influence of the media on "attitudes to the war," more
widely considered in affective terms especially, was
necessarily a major part of our concern.

     Thus, one of the major dimensions which we wished to
investigate was the way in which people were personally
affected by the war.  If the "spectator sport" and "armament
culture" theories, discussed above, were valid, the media
coverage of the war would function to "screen off" the
actual violence.[31] We found, however, that 12 percent of
respondents claimed to to be "worried about family or
friends in the Gulf."  Of these, 56 percent claimed that a
member of their family (in over half of the cases, a child
or teenager) had been "adversely affected by the violence of
the war," compared to 21 percent in the sample as a whole.
Larger numbers, moreover, of those who had no such personal
involvement also claimed to be "worried about the violence
of the war in general" (32 percent).  Only a small
proportion (12 percent) "felt good because of allied or
British successes."  On the other hand, 39 percent claimed
not to have been personally affected by the war.  Older
people and readers of "quality" newspapers and the Daily
Mirror were particularly likely to say they were "worried"
in general; readers of downmarket tabloids were more likely
to "feel good" about British and allied successes the war.
Both these distributions are statistically significant (see
Table 9).


Table 9.  How people reported being personally affected by the
          war, by (1) age and sex and (2) newspaper readership

                   Worried            Worried
                   family/    Feel    in        Not
                   friends    good    general   affected      N
                   -------    -----   --------  --------    -----
All respondents       12       12       34        39         532

Men under 45          13       14       27        43         134
Men over 45           11        8       44        36         129
Women under 45         7       16       25        48         122
Women over 45         15       10       41        30         139

(Chi-square = 40.1, d.f. = 25, p=.03)

Sun/Star              16       19       18        44         93
Daily Mirror          14        8       38        39        111
Other tabloids        14       14       25        44         92
Qualities              3       10       53        27         62

(Chi-square = 36.7, d.f. = 15, p=.001)


     The general atmosphere of crisis seems, therefore, to
have given rise to widespread anxiety, which the media
communicated along with the image of high-technology
military success.  This seems to have been the case despite
the "screening out" of violence: as we have seen, people
largely accepted official and widely diffused media
explanations of the war.  They were nevertheless highly
concerned about violence, even if they were given little
concrete evidence of the forms which it was actually taking,
although the concern varied somewhat between category of
victim and social class of victim.  Our first survey (during
the war) showed even that more than 60 percent of our sample
claimed to be "concerned" or "very concerned" about loss of
life among Iraqi soldiers, and more than 85 percent about
Iraqi civilians; over 95 percent claimed to be concerned
loss of life about Israeli, Saudi, US and of course British
forces or civilians.

     The reasons for the anxiety and the concern about
violence, as well as for different stances on the political
issues in the war, are clearly complex.  Our analysis shows
significant (and in some cases substantial) differences
between men and women, young and old, social classes,
supporters of different parties, and affiliates of different
religious denominations.  Personal involvement with the
military, and historical experience of war, also played
significant (but not identical) parts in forming
attitudes.[32] Clearly, even the role of the media should be
looked at in a longer term perspective (in their
contribution to shaping attitudes to international conflict,
the military, etc. over time).  Short-term media coverage,
in the build-up to, duration, and aftermath of the war, was
of course only one factor in forming attitudes.

     When we discuss the role of the media, therefore, we
need to distinguish between (a) their role in providing
information and shaping perceptions of current events (which
is clearly critical) and (b) their role in shaping
underlying perceptions and attitudes.  We took it for
granted in our research that television was the prime source
of information on the war for most people, because of both
the chronological and the visual immediacy of the medium,
and because television news viewing was a more universal
practice than newspaper reading.[33] We did not take it for
granted that television was as important, compared to
newspapers, or that the media as a whole are as important
compared to other factors, in forming attitudes.

     It has been widely assumed that television has replaced
newspapers both as a primary source of information and as a
source of attitudes to political events.  Our study
suggests, however, that this is too simple a view.  There
were sharp variations among readers of different newspapers
concerning a wide range of issues, with a spectrum of
attitudes when we divided our sample into four sizable
groups: readers of the Sun or the Star, of the Daily Mirror,
of the middle-market tabloids (Express, Mail, Today), and of
quality papers (Guardian, Independent, Telegraph, Times).

     Responses varied considerably among readers of
different newspapers, as shown by the percentages in the
first four data columns of Table 10.  In order to examine
the independent contribution of newspaper readership to
these attitudes, we first ran multiple regressions of each
item with the control variables of gender, age, tenure
status (i.e., whether respondents own or rent their homes),
voting intention, prior military involvement, and attitude
to television coverage[34]; the percent of variance in each
item explained by all these predictors is shown in the
"R-sq." column of Table 10, which also indicates the
significance of each equation as a whole.  Next, we examined
the impact of newspaper readership on these attitudes by
means of analysis of variance of the residuals from the
regressions (which reflect what's left in the attitude items
that the control variables do not explain); the right-most
column of Table 10 presents the significance of the F from
these ANOVA's of newspaper readership with each residual
(again, with variance explained by the controls removed).


Table 10.  Differences in attitudes according to newspaper
           readership, and effect of newspaper on residuals
           after controls

                     Sun/         Mid-mkt  Quali-        Newsp.
                     Star  Mirror tablds.  ties   R-Sq.  Signif.
                     ----- ------ -------- ------ ------ --------

We have to stand
up to dictators
(reason for war)      56     33      35     29    .038***   **

Saddam like Hitler    48     50      28     16    .025**    **

Saddam mad            42     27      17      8    .037***   **

Overthrow Saddam
Hussein, as war aim   56     51      39     26    .017*      *

Use nuclear weapons   16      4       4      3    .027**     *

Very concerned about:
   British services   85     86      87     77    .025*      *
   US services        57     69      57     62    .029**     *
   Israeli civilians  47     70      51     72    .007
   Saudi civilians    48     67      51     73    .018
   Saudi services     43     68      45     63    .029       *
   Iraqi civilians    28     35      50     64    .012
   Iraqi soldiers     13     22      31     39    .012

Middle East peace
(as war aim)          31     34      28     50    .008

*   p<.05
**  p<.01
*** p<.001


- Tenure status indicates whether respondents own their homes or
  rent from either the local council, a housing association, or a
  private landlord.

- R-square coefficients are from multiple regression equations
  based on all controls.  "Residual Newspaper Significance"
  reflects analyses of variance of the residuals produced by the
  regression equations.


     The effects of newspaper readership on perceptions of
and attitudes to the war thus generally hold up above and
beyond the effects of numerous important controls.
Furthermore, the differences among readers of different
newspapers were more consistent and more often significant
than were any of the other variations which we measured in
our study (see Table 11).


Table 11.  Differences in attitudes according to gender, age,
           tenure status, voting intention and prior military
           involvement (chi-square values)

                                        Military  Voting  News-
                 Gender   Age   Tenure  Involve.  Intent. paper
                 ------  -----  ------  --------  ------- -----
We have to
stand up to
dictators          1.7    8.3**   3.9     0.0      7.0**  16.8***

Saddam like
Hitler             0.2    4.4     4.4     2.4      0.4    27.4***

Saddam mad         4.7**  5.0*    8.8**   0.9      1.3    27.9***

Overthrow Hussein
(as war aim)       8.0*** 0.6     6.7**   0.2      3.6    16.8**

Use nuclear
weapons            3.1*   0.9     2.3     3.5*     2.6    16.3***

Concern for:
  British serv.    2.0   11.1***  4.2     3.2*     6.7**   3.6
  US serv.         2.5    1.4     0.3     3.5*     2.7     3.7
  Israeli civ.     1.1    4.6     1.1     0.6      0.5    14.8**
  Saudi civ.       2.2    1.0     1.1     2.5      0.5    13.4***
  Saudi serv.      2.2    3.6     0.3     8.7***   0.2    14.8***
  Iraqi civ.       2.0    3.7     3.6     0.1      0.2    20.5***
  Iraqi serv.      4.6*   1.9     1.1     0.0      0.4    13.6***

Middle East
peace (as
war aim)           0.0     1.3    1.6     4.3*     1.5     8.8**

*   p <.10
**  p <.05
*** p <.001


     The spectrum of attitudes shown above cannot be
explained mainly by the party or political positions of the
newspapers: the attitudes of readers of the Labour-oriented
Mirror and of the Conservative-oriented Sun and Star were
often closer to each other than either were to those of the
Conservative mid-market papers.  Nor can this spectrum be
explained mainly by class, since the differences between Sun
and Star readers and Mirror readers are greater than such
differences would explain.  Although such factors are
partial explanations, they account for relatively little of
the variation in the attitudes (the R- squares in Table 10
are mostly significant but quite low, with none exceeding 4

     We could construct a more complex social profile of the
various newspaper readerships which would go further in
explaining the variations, but there is clearly a
considerable residuum in many of the variations which cannot
be explained in this manner.  Although the precise pattern
of variation itself varied, the spectrum was remarkably
consistent; again, the analyses of variance of the residuals
from the multiple regressions show that newspaper readership
usually remains a significant factor, over and above the
effects of the controls.  It is arguable that if we
introduced educational level as a variable[35], this would
explain a good deal of the newspaper- related variation,
since the sort of papers people read are clearly related to
their educational experience.  It is not clear, however,
that this, any more than class, would explain, say, the
differences between Sun and Star readers and Mirror readers.

     It seems, in any case, as implausible to suggest that
newspapers' identities -- and ideologies -- have no (or
minimal) significance in shaping readers' attitudes as it
would be to suggest that they are the sole (or major)
influences.  It would also appear almost perverse to try to
explain political attitudes by means of "background" social
characteristics and experiences, reflecting
social-structural differences, rather than in terms of an
interaction of individuals with mediating ideological forces
such as newspapers, which are directly involved in providing
information and interpretations of the events around which
people's attitudes are forming.  If educational level did
account for a large part of our "newspaper" variation, this
would not necessarily mean that educational differences
rather than newspaper readership "explained" differences in
attitudes.  It could rather be interpreted as an expression
of an active and dynamic relationship between educational
level and newspaper readership.  Newspapers could be seen as
means of continuing differentiation and reproduction of
cultural and political identities which, we could speculate,
are initially formed to a considerable extent by educational

     We suggest that newspapers, although generally unable
to compete with television in terms of visual immediacy and
instant communication of the war, were nevertheless able to
offer much more ideologically complete interpretations of
events, and stronger advocacy of particular views.  A
differentiated, ideologically and politically partisan press
was able to offer far more explicit positions than the much
more homogeneous television media, legally regulated and
politically monitored to produce a relatively neutral

     It is difficult to explain many of the variations in
the above tables without knowledge of the positions adopted
by the newspapers themselves.  We find, for example, that
among Sun readers no fewer than 21 percent favored using
nuclear weapons against Iraq (the figure in the table above
is lowered by combination with Star readers).  In no other
sub-group in our sample, on any dimension, was the
percentage supporting this option in double figures.  It
cannot be accidental that the Sun, alone among British
newspapers, actually advocated the use of nuclear weapons.
We also find strong, but differentiated, support for the
demonization of Saddam Hussein among down-market tabloid
readers generally, and Sun and Star readers in particular;
this also reflects the personalization of the conflict in
these same papers.

     It is inevitable, in our view, that the mass media in
general and newspapers in particular will have a more
immediate role in forming attitudes to current events than
other forces.  Most of the other factors which we identified
as differentiating attitudes -- age, sex, class, politics,
religion, military/war experience -- represented diffuse
elements of social experience and cultural resources for
people in British society.  While attitudes bound up with
these dimensions clearly affected how people felt and
responded to the war, they did not provide immediate and
precise interpretations and guidelines.

     Even political and religious positions, which involve
ideological interpretations of the world, can have provided
people only with general beliefs -- which they still had to
apply (with the help of the media) to the specific events
taking place.  Political and religious leaders were not
providing their followers with such detailed, let alone day
by day, understandings of or positions on the events of the
war.  Indeed, some were quite deliberately avoiding such
commitments: the leaders of the two opposition parties and
of the Church of England were the three figures (out of
seven about whom we asked in our second survey) whose
position on the war seemed most ambiguous to our

     The media were thus left in the position of being the
only institutions continuously interpreting and judging a
rapidly developing series of anxiety-producing, threatening,
and contradictory events to the members of the society.
Although television held the center stage, newspapers played
a special role in this process.  We speculate that they are
more important than the more uniform and less reflective
television coverage of world events, as a source of
divergent identities in a complex society.  In times of
crisis, while television assumes primacy as a source of
information (and the immediate interpretations which go with
that), newspapers play a vital role as a focus of more
general interpretations and positions on world events,
linked more explicitly with differentiated sets of values
which (in buying the product) readers have to some extent
chosen for themselves.


     The Gulf War, as Giddens has pointed out, was "the most
heavily mediated, reflexively monitored war in human
history."[36] Most members of most societies could obtain
knowledge of the war only through mass media (or from others
who obtained their knowledge from the media), and these
media were both controlled in and controlling the supply of
information and interpretations of events to unprecedented
degrees.  This study has confirmed that, in our survey of a
local population in the United Kingdom, perceptions of the
war closely matched the dominant patterns of television and
newspaper coverage.  It has shown, however, that attitudes
to the war varied, to a very considerable extent, according
to newspaper readership, and has (on this basis) questioned
the assumption that because of the supremacy of television,
newspapers are not so important in shaping attitudes.

     This paper has also shown, however, that responses to
the war by consumers of the media cannot simply be read off
from an analysis of the media coverage itself.  Some of the
most important findings of this research are the extent of
consumer "resistance" to the most pervasive messages of the
media.  Even while they approved of the war, respondents
expressed anxiety about it, and few of them confessed either
to fascination with it, or to feeling good about the
successes of the victorious coalition.  Even while they
endorsed the dominant perceptions of the war gained from the
media coverage, a very large minority of television viewers
saw British television coverage as "glorifying the war too
much."  Even after the image of a clean, efficient,
high-technology campaign had been partially undermined by
some fairly visually explicit and ideologically questioning
coverage of the Baghdad shelter bombing, few respondents
agreed with right-wing criticisms of the media.[37] Although
most people accepted the versions of this event provided by
the military, political leaders, and the press, most also
agreed that television had been right to show the shrouded
remains of the victims.  Similarly, although most people
accepted the justifications given for the slaughter of
retreating Iraqi troops, a large majority supported the more
explicit television coverage of its effects.  Even more
interesting, perhaps, was the fact that while tabloid
newspaper readers' views clearly reflected their papers'
orientations on the war, very large minorities also saw
their papers as "glorifying the war too much."

     This picture suggests that there are numerous
contradictions in the ways in which audiences consume media
products.  Viewers and readers clearly bring to bear values
and understandings which derive from other cultural
resources -- including gender-derived values,
generation-related understandings, political and religious
ideologies, experiences of war and military institutions.
They also compare information and interpretations from
different mass media.  They engage -- through face-to-face
social relationships at work, in the home and in the
community -- in active processing of information and
judgments derived from the media.  It is difficult, in a
social survey of the kind reported here, to study all of
these processes and relationships.  We can, however, in
contrast to some of the simplified accounts of public
opinion which were given during the Gulf War, point out the
complexity both of the evidence about people's attitudes,
and of the relationships of mass media to those attitudes
which lie behind this evidence.

        *ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: The authors acknowledge the
     generous assistance of the Joseph Rowntree
     Charitable Trust and the University of Hull in
     supporting the research, and of the B & G Cadbury
     Trust in supporting Martin Shaw to give a paper at
     the conference of the International Association
     for Mass Communication Research on "News Media and
     the Gulf War," Istanbul, June 1991, on which this
     article is based.


[1]  The case is most eloquently put by Michael Mandelbaum,
     "Vietnam: The Television War," Daedalus, III, 4, Fall
     1982, pp. 157-69.

[2]  Martin Shaw, Post-Military Society: Militarism,
     Demilitarization and War at the End of the Twentieth
     Century.  Cambridge: Polity, 1991.

[3]  Michael Mann, "Roots and Contradictions of Modern
     Militarism," in his States, Wars and Capitalism.
     London: Blackwell, 1988, p. 185.

[4]  Robin Luckham, "Of Arms and Culture," Current Research
     on Peace and Violence, IV, 1, 1983, pp. 1-64.

[5]  Shaw, Post-Military Society, Chapter 3, and (applied to
     the Gulf) Chapter 6.

[6]  Mann, p. 185.

[7]  Glasgow University Media Group, War and Peace News,
     Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1985, p. 143.

[8]  David Morrison and Howard Tumber, Journalists at War:
     The Dynamics of News Reporting in the Falklands
     Conflict.  London: Sage, 1988.

[9]  On this see Robert Harris, Gotcha!  The Media, the
     Government and the Falklands Crisis.  London: Faber,

[10] Much of the information about British censorship, with
     comparative accounts from the USA, France, Germany,
     Turkey, Israel, etc., is compiled in Index on
     Censorship, 20, 4/5, April-May 1991, special issue,
     "Warspeak: The Gulf and the News Media."

[11] Maev Kennedy, "The Forgotten Art of Death Rituals,"
     Guardian, 6 April 1991.

[12] "Sound bites," Weekend Guardian, 19-20 January 1991, p.

[13] The fictional pilot hero of the inter-war boys'
     adventure stories created by Captain W.E.  Johns.

[14] David Pallister, "Gulf Mediafile," Media Guardian, 11
     February 1991.  CNN itself was not received directly in
     British homes, although its coverage was frequently
     utilized by the British channels.

[15] Yorkshire Evening Press billboards, York city center,
     24 February 1991.

[16] Funday Times, supplement to Sunday Times, quoted
     Guardian, 7 February 1991.

[17] This story has since been discredited, according to
     Amnesty International.

[18] The shift in the coverage was recognized by significant
     numbers of British television viewers, according to our
     survey (see below).

[19] This is remarkably similar to the presentation of
     Cristallnacht by its perpetrators: "By portraying the
     pogrom of November 9/10, 1938, as the "night of broken
     glass," Nazi propagandists meant to fix attention on
     this material damage.  They went out of their way to
     stress that Jews were neither looted nor physically
     harmed."  (Arno Meyer, Why did the Heavens Not Darken?
     London: Verso, 1989, p. 169) There is no comparison
     between the politics of the Gulf coalition and those of
     the Nazis, but the propaganda methods were close in
     this specific respect.

[20] Daily Mail, quoted by Edward Pearce, "Auxiliary boys'
     brigade," Guardian, 14 February 1991.  Less than a week
     later, the IRA bombed Victoria station in London,
     killing one person, and issued a statement blaming the
     police for this death because they failed to clear the
     area.  The police responded with a statement that the
     IRA's attempt to abdicate responsibility for the
     killing which they caused "almost beggars belief"
     (Metropolitan Police statement, 19 February 1991,
     quoted Guardian, 20 February).  Apparently no one
     noticed the irony.

[21] Independent, 6 April 1991.

[22] Sunday Times, 2 March 1991.

[23] Anthony Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity.
     Stanford: Stanford University Press, p. 125.

[24] Giddens 1990, pp. 120-1.

[25] Martin Shaw and Roy Carr-Hill, Public Opinion, Media
     and Violence, Hull: Hull University Gulf War Project
     Report No. 1, 1991.

[26] Newsletter, London: Survey Methods Centre, February

[27] See Claus Moser and Graham Kalton, Survey Methods in
     Social Investigation (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul,
     1975), and P. Dixon, Response Rates in Postal Surveys
     (mimeo, York: University of York Centre for Health
     Economics, 1991).

[28] There is a national market for daily newspapers in the
     UK: most titles are published in London and circulated
     nationally.  Nearly all of our respondents who read a
     daily morning paper (over 60 percent of the sample)
     read a national title, although a few read the
     Yorkshire Post.  Our survey also concerned a local
     evening paper, as will be seen from the Appendix, and
     this generated considerable data which is not reported
     on here.

[29] Morrison and Tumber, op. cit., Appendix.

[30] Shaw has discussed this more fully in Post-Military
     Society, Chapter 4 (and see also Chapter 6).

[31] An interesting paper to this effect as presented by
     Kevin Robins (University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK) to
     the International Association for Mass Communications
     Research (IAMCR) conference on the News Media and the
     Gulf War, Istanbul 1991.

[32] These factors are discussed more fully in our Public
     Opinion, Media and Violence (Hull University Gulf War
     Project Report No. 1), and in Attitudes to War: A
     Political Sociology of Responses to the Gulf Conflict
     (forthcoming, 1992).

[33] Research conducted in the United States by Bradley
     Greenberg, University of Michigan, and presented to the
     IAMCR, Istanbul 1991, corroborates this assumption in
     great detail, examining (for instance) the relationship
     between various media and word of mouth in people's
     first information about the outbreak of war.

[34] Further analysis of exposure to television coverage is
     planned in future work which will deal in greater
     detail with the data from the second survey.

[35] We unfortunately failed to test in our first (hastily
     drawn up) questionnaire, but we did include it in the
     second survey.  The relevant results are not available
     at the time of writing, but we will address this issue
     further in later work.

[36] Anthony Giddens, Conference on "Nationalism in a Post-
     Marxist World," London School of Economics, 1 March

[37] Even among those intending to vote Conservative, more
     continued to agree that television coverage "glorified
     the war too much" than thought it was "too critical of
     the war."



Attitudes to the Gulf War

For some of the following questions you should tick only one box;
for others, when you might agree, at least in part, with several
of the proffered alternatives, we are asking you to tick no more
than two.

1.  What is your attitude to the involvement of British forces in
    the Gulf war?  (Strongly approve, approve, disapprove,
    strongly disapprove)

2.  Do you think that sanctions should have been given longer to
    work, before military force was used? (Yes, No, Don't know)

3.  Why do you think Britain went to war? (tick the one or two
    you most agree with)

    - to get Iraq out of Kuwait
    - because we support the United Nations
    - to protect oil supplies
    - because we have to stand up to dictators
    - because we support America
    - none of these
    - don't know

4.  What should the allies' war aims be?  (tick the one or two
    you most agree with)

    - to get Iraq out of Kuwait
    - to destroy Iraq's military machine
    - to overthrow Saddam Hussein
    - to occupy Iraq
    - to achieve a Middle East peace settlement, including the
      Palestine question
    - shouldn't be fighting
    - don't know

5.  What do you think of Saddam Hussein?  (tick the one or two
    you most agree with)

    - he is a dangerous man
    - he is like Hitler
    - he is standing up for the Arabs
    - he is mad
    - none of these
    - don't know

6.  What should happen to Saddam Hussein if or when the allies
    defeat Iraq?  (tick one only)

    - should be left in power if Iraq withdraws from Kuwait
    - should be left to Iraqi people to deal with
    - should be killed
    - should be brought to trial for war crime
    - none of these
    - don't know

7.  Which of these statements comes closest to expressing your
    view of the role of violence in this war?  (tick one only)

    - I believe that nuclear weapons should be used against Iraq
      to win the war
    - I believe that the minimum violence necessary to win should
      be used against Iraq
    - I do not believe that the violence of the war against Iraq
      can be justified
    - none of these
    - don't know

8.  Which of these statements do you think best describes the
    allied air attacks on Iraq in the opening phase of the war?
    (tick the one or two you most agree with)

    - sorties by brave allied airmen
    - precise strikes against strategic targets, with minimum
      civilian casualties
    - like video or computer games
    - Intensive bombing with unacceptable civilian casualties
    - none of these
    - don't know

9.  How concerned are you about the loss of life among the
    following groups of people? (tick one box in each row)
    (very concerned, concerned, not concerned)

    - British service personnel
    - Israeli civilians
    - American service personnel
    - Saudi civilians
    - Saudi service personnel
    - Iraqi civilians
    - Iraqi service personnel

10.  Do you watch television news of the war regularly? (yes, no)

11.  If you watch TV news of the war regularly (at least once
     most days), which of these reasons would you give for
     doing so?  (tick one or two which most apply to you)

     - I want to be informed about the war
     - I feel worried by the war
     - I feel frightened by the war
     - I find the war fascinating
     - I find the war exciting
     - none of these
     - don't know

12.  If you don't watch TV news of the war regularly, which of
     these reasons would you give for not doing so?  (tick one or
     two which most apply to you)

     - I haven't got access to a TV
     - I'm not interested or too busy to watch TV news of the war
     - I find TV coverage of the war boring or repetitive
     - I find better coverage of the war in the press or radio
     - I find TV coverage of the war worrying
     - I find TV coverage of the war frightening
     - none of these
     - don't know

13.  Which of these statements would you say applies generally to
     TV's coverage of the Gulf war?  (tick only one in each of
     (a), (b) and (c)

     a)  informative, too informative, not informative enough
     b)  patriotic, too patriotic, not patriotic enough
     c)  glorifies war too much, sensible attitude towards war,
         too critical of war

14.  Do you read one of the following national daily newspapers
     regularly?  Please tick the one you read most often.

        Sun              Star           Mirror          Today
        Telegraph        Independent    Times           Guardian
        Yorkshire Post   other          none

15.  How satisfied are you with its war coverage?
     (very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied,
      don't know)

16.  Which of these statements would you say applies to your
     paper's coverage of the Gulf war?  (tick only one in each of
     (a), (b) and (c))

     a)  informative, too informative, not informative enough
     b)  patriotic, too patriotic, not patriotic enough
     c)  glorifies war too much, sensible attitude towards war,
         too critical of war

17.  Do you read the Hull Daily Mail regularly?   (Yes, No)

     If yes, how satisfied are you with its war coverage?
     (very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied,
      don't know)

18.  Which of these statements would you say applies to the Hull
     Daily Mail's coverage of the Gulf war?  (tick only one in
     each of (a), (b) and (c)

     a)  informative, too informative, not informative enough
     b)  patriotic, too patriotic, not patriotic enough
     c)  glorifies war too much, sensible attitude towards war,
         too critical of war

19.  Have you been affected personally by the war in any of the
     following ways? (tick one)

     - I feel worried about family members or friends in the Gulf
     - I feel good because of British and allied successes
     - I feel worried by the violence of the war in general
     - I haven't been affected personally by the war
     - Don't know

20.  Would you say that any other member of your family has been
     adversely affected by the violence of the war? (Yes, No,
     Don't know)

     If yes, tick any of the following whom you would say have
     been affected:

         child (14 and under)    teenagers and young people (15-24)
         adult (25-64)           older person (65+)

     If you have ticked any of these, are the people in question

          male            female          both

     If yes, could you describe how they have been affected?

21.  Would you give us the following details of yourself and your
     family?  (This is to enable us to compare the views of
     men/women, different age groups, supporters of various
     parties, etc.).  Please tick the descriptions which apply to

       Sex:    Male    Female
       Age:    15-24   35-44    45-54     55-64    over 65
       Religion:   Church of England, Roman Catholic, Other
                   Christian, Muslim, Jewish, other, none

22.  Is where you live:
        Owned by you, Rented from the council, Rented from a
        housing association, Rented privately, Other

23.  Are you currently employed?  (Yes, No)

        If yes, please state job title
        If no, are you:
        registered unemployed     housewife    student

24.  How would you vote if there was a General Election tomorrow?

        Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green,
          other (please specify), wouldn't vote, don't know

25.  Have you served in the armed forces?  (Yes, No)

        If yes, in which of the following?  (tick all that apply)

            Second World War, National Service, Falklands war,
            Regular forces in peacetime, Reserves, Territorials

26.  At the present time, are you, or any other member of your
     immediate family:  (Yes, No)

       a)  serving in the armed forces
       b)  employed by a firm which makes any defence equipment

27.  Is any member of your immediate family serving in the Gulf?
     (Yes, No)

28.  Is any member of your immediate family a civilian in the
     Gulf?  (Yes, No)

29.  Is there any other comment you would like to make about the
     Gulf War?

We are also interested in finding out whether people's views
change as the war continues through different stages.   If you
have no objection to answering a second questionnaire of this
kind, please tick.

Many thanks for your help.   Please return in the envelope
provided, or send to:  Hull University Gulf War Project,
Department of Sociology, The University, Hull HU6 7RX.

Note:  The questionnaire for the second survey is not given in
full, as less frequent reference has been made to it in the text,
and many questions were repeated from the first survey.


                  Copyright 1991
Communication Institute for Online Scholarship, Inc.