Following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, the conflict later known as the Gulf War became a focus of US media and the target of a campaign to gain public support for military action against Iraq. Building on previous research, this study shows that terms referring to specific actors changed in three major US newspapers during fall 1990 in ways that suggest the newspapers’ practices of objective reporting were affected. Centered on Presidents George Bush and Saddam Hussein as key players, the use of different terms of reference in press reports changed systematically to highlight Bush in a prestigious role as the US leader, while Hussein was delegitimized as a dangerous individual. Kuwait and its leaders were sidelined. Reporters prioritized officials associated with military and intelligence agencies at times of increased tensions. These changes implicitly supported the interests of the Bush administration and discourses favorable to US military action.
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