Iraq "liberated" propaganda


"Baghdad's joy at being liberated" (as BBC news presenter Peter Sissons put it, following the April 9th 2003 "fall of Baghdad") was communicated to the world via TV pictures of "jubilant scenes" accompanying the symbolic toppling of a statue of Saddam Hussein. Baghdad has a population of 5 million; only a few hundred people were involved in the jubilation scenes. A long-shot photo of the event gives a very different impression from the TV hype:

The BBC's claims of impartiality over Iraq look dubious according to David Miller of the Stirling media research institute. He quotes a study of media coverage of anti-war dissent in five countries showing the BBC featuring the lowest level of dissent of all. Its 2% total was even lower than the 7% found on the US channel ABC. The empirical evidence "suggests a pro-war orientation" in the BBC, he says.

Miller mentions coverage of the coalition victory as an example:

"As Baghdad fell on April 9, BBC reporters could hardly contain themselves in their haste to endorse the victors. This was a "vindication" of the strategy and it showed Blair had been "right" and his critics "wrong". Here the BBC enunciated a version of events very similar to that of the government. According to the BBC, "dozens" witnessed the statue pulled down by US marines in Baghdad on April 9, while "thousands" demonstrated against "foreign hegemony" in the same city on the 18th. Yet the footage of the former was described as "extraordinary", "momentous" and "historic", while the larger demonstration was greeted with scepticism. Are they "confined to a small vocal minority", the newscaster asked." (Guardian, 22/4/03)

Incidentally, in media photographs of the "jubilant" scenes accompanying Iraq's "liberation", the same jubilant Iraqi man kept turning up different photos, kissing coalition troops:

See also details of an allegedly faked photo of jubilant Iraqi "crowds", which the Evening Standard used on its front-page story of the "liberation" of Iraq: