April 2003
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Iraq: two opinions
By Monique M., Grade 12, Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB

We are bombarded by news coverage of the war in Iraq. Every channel on the dial provides viewers with up-to-date information on events as they unfold in Iraq. I decided to compare coverage by U.S. versus Canadian television stations. I choose CNN and CBC for my analysis.

CNN is calling their coverage the "Strike on Iraq". There is a leg constantly running across the screen telling many different opinions from Americans and Iraqis. As well, there are changing subtitles so that the viewer knows who is talking and what they are talking about. CNN does not have one main decorated set to which all the reports return. They did have maps and visuals explaining where the reporters and soldiers were and where things were happening. There was a lot of live coverage but still the reports were somewhat boring, telling unimportant information through spoken words and the more important information in the leg.

There were many journalists reporting on location, which supplied footage of inside soldiers bunkers, talking about wearing gas masks, and about the cavalry crossing Iraq. Some of the reports were in real-time film like night vision footage of the truck and tank cavalry crossing southern Iraq towards Baghdad.

News of killing and defeating Iraqis is given very bluntly with a pro U.S., and pro war opinion dominant. Almost to fill up space there were reports from the Pentagon and the White House describing the President's day and showing pictures from inside the Oval office. Everyone's opinions are very pro Bush and the Bush administration.

CBC is calling their coverage of the war "Attack on Iraq" which conveys a much different attitude towards the war than CNN.

The broadcast I watched started with a Federal Cabinet meeting with a lot of arguing between members and they were mostly angry with Bush and the war. The Ministers hope that all countries will respect the laws of war, how ironic a statement. Questions were asked about the amount of gas masks for soldiers in Iraq but no answer was given.

The CBC's coverage showed less abrupt and rushed reporting and talked about Chrétien's opinions. Chrétien says Canada is not participating but is also not a neutral country. The government is asking people to stop making personal opinions about Bush and America as this is putting Canada on the "outs" with America. There were reports on the UN describing their opinion of the war and the money and aid that they have and will give.

CBC had many more reports of human interest stories. Two Canadian women are in Baghdad as members of the "Iraq Peace Team" promoting peace. One reporter went to small town Missouri and had "real" people tell their opinions of the war and of Bush.

There were clips showing Iraqi officials giving a news conference explaining the damage done to them, as well as the death and wounded tolls. Unlike CNN they showed Iraqis and Palestinians giving their opinions of the war and the US. However they had no live coverage in Iraq.

CNN is more aimed towards American adults and CBC seems more for Canadian adults as well as teens. CNN has a one-track mind so to speak but CBC reports from many sides so that its viewers will be better informed not just receiving one pre-programmed opinion.

Both newscasts want their audience to know the "truth" no matter what their perception of the truth is and they both present the facts which have been given to them in what they feel is the best way possible.


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