Abstract

This study operationalized framing, priming, and the spiral of silence in a quest to understand media coverage and what drives public opinion during times of war.  Coverage of the 2003 Iraq War by United States coalition newspapers, non-coalition European newspapers, and non-coalition Middle-Eastern newspapers were compared at three distinct points in time.  In the case of coalition nations, this paper seeks to identify how the media primed its audience to support the war.  It seeks to prove that non-coalition nations primed their audience with the anti-war and anti-United States bias.  The paper also seeks to show how subject framing influenced the audience.  Finally, this paper submits that the minority anti-war protestors in coalition nations and pro-war protestors in non-coalition nations were silenced by the media as the fervor for war coverage grew.  Results revealed that priming and framing effects of coalition and non-coalition nation perspectives grew more pronounced as time progressed.  Results also indicate aspects of the spiral of silence were present in media coverage of events surrounding the war.