The UK benefitted from an “admirably wide range of coverage” during the invasion of Iraq, according to a study from the Universities of Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds.
Focusing solely on a period of several weeks around the invasion phase in 2003, the universities studied output across the national media, including the Sunday press.
Reporting, from Channel 4 in particular, was “largely independent of the official government line”.
Sky News and ITV News “tended to fall in line very much with the coalition narrative”.
The Telegraph, Times and Mail “generally fell in line with the coalition PR campaign”, whereas the Independent, Guardian and Mirror “were quite remarkable for the degree of criticism that they engaged in, even during the invasion phase”.
The British press were uniformly critical of certain issues, such as Iraqi civilian casualties.
The practice of embedding journalists with army units, and especially the need to cover the “our boys in action” line, was found to reduce the level of objectivity in reports, the report added.
This article appears in issue 254 of Media Digest.