Media Coverage of Iran's Nuclear Program

Thumbnail Image

Publication or External Link






News coverage of the lead-up to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq had a significant impact on the distorted understanding of the public in regards to the justifications for the decision to go to war. In order to gauge the media was covering US and International discussions about Iran’s nuclear program in a similar manner, the Center for International Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) analyzed a sample of the newspaper coverage from six influential English newspapers. The newspapers that were covered are the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the Guardian and the Independent. The study found that newspapers framed their coverage of the issue in a manner that emphasized official western narratives of the dispute thereby presenting a narrow range of policy choices available to officials. Furthermore, the coverage did not consistently describe the complex web of international relationships and security concerns rather giving prominence to official narratives and policy preferences. This led to a situation where the only policy outcomes available to officials are coercive diplomacy and war. This type of news coverage was eerily reminiscent to the coverage before the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war. Therefore, the fact that the media can play a constructive role in finding a lasting resolution to the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, journalists should modify how they cover the topic currently.