Overall findings are congruent with national polls and political stances in each region during specific periods demonstrating elements of framing and priming. While polls are not routinely conducted in the Middle-East, data from the United States and non-coalition Europe, to include Russia, was gathered and the patterns of the polls reflect our findings. While elements of the spiral of silence could not be scientifically deduced from our data, further research involving a greater N and different types of media samples (television, radio, mainstream publications) would reveal its presence more strongly. This is especially true in Europe where poll data tends to bear this out. Some polls in Europe showed the public opinion changed as the war progressed. While 9 percent of Europeans felt the war was unjustified in early March, that number jumped to 21 percent in late April, demonstrating a possible spiral of silence, if not a change in attitude. We suspect the spiral of silence played a role in this change. People who supported the war initially thought they were in the minority and remained silent. Once Baghdad fell, that number rose as polling data indicates. Additionally, textual evaluations revealed an emersion from silence within the Iraqi people. This is assumedly due to the Iraqi citizens’ realization that they would not face extreme punishments from Saddam Hussein’s regime as they spoke out in favor of the coalition’s military action.
While this survey did not analyze specifically what media in each region covered the most, differences in the raw data were observed. Non-coalition European newspapers generally followed the same stance as Mid-Eastern publications. The framing of coverage, however was often dissimilar. This was found in part to be because Middle-East newspaper cultural differences, as mentioned earlier.
The first question to reach significant findings searched for a tenor within a story as to whether military action was “right.” Prior to the conflict, the tenor of the coalition and non-coalition print media was less in favor of military action in Iraq. With the fall of Baghdad, the tenor changed to more supportive of military action. The ANOVA test determined a significant difference between the regions. A post-hoc comparison was conducted combining Middle-East and non-coalition European data which was then compared to coalition data. The findings were of significant levels-to the .01 degree showing a shift in opinion.
The next question reaching significant findings solicited a valence on retaining Saddam Hussein’s regime. Prior to military action, there was limited support for retaining Saddam Hussein. As the war progressed and Baghdad fell, that support diminished significantly. Coverage in non-coalition European and Middle-East publications favored retention of Saddam Hussein’s in power about 3 times more than the United States coalition publications did.
The data relating to whether Saddam Hussein was a threat to the United States demonstrated a significant difference between regions. Raw data indicated differences, but all regions presented an increase in Saddam’s perceived threat once Baghdad fell, which was again congruent to national and international polling in the United States.
The question of Saddam Hussein’s portrayal by the press as an oppressive dictator was significantly different in the 3 regions according to ANOVA analysis. While the coalition press overwhelming portrayed the dictator element, non-coalition European and Middle-East publications were equally less persuasive in the characterization. All numbers again rose dramatically in the third time period.
The coalition was not portrayed highly as a liberating force before the war, but that number increased by 40% by the end of the war. There was a significant difference in the coverage according to the ANOVA test. Overall, an average of 60% of the newspapers portrayed the coalition as liberators in the coalition press, while the non-coalition European and Middle-East publications were 48% and 20%, respectively.
The question relating to whether the coalitions’ objectives were good for the citizens of Iraq reached a significant level of difference between regions according to the ANOVA test. Again, the raw data spiked dramatically in the third period following the fall of Baghdad. That data spike was a 20 to 25 percent increase in support across the regions.
The ANOVA test revealed significant differences in regions on the question of whether coalition forces were seen as heroes. On average, 60% of the press coverage portrayed the hero image in United States newspapers, while non-coalition European and Middle-East numbers were 21% and 15%, respectively. The ANOVA test results and numbers were about the same for the question relating to support for military action, with the same spike at the end, which certainly indicates a spiral of silence effect. However, there is no empirical data to prove this hypothesis in our research.
Four survey questions reached significant comparative differences on the ANOVA scale when non-coalition European and Middle-East data were combined and compared to United States coalition data. The survey questions included level of support for continued United Nations inspections for weapons of mass destruction, peace demonstrations, and anti-war protesters and whether the coalition’s objectives were only related to a quest for oil.
Five of the 18 measures were not scientifically provable by the MANOVA or ANOVA comparative scales. These questions related to whether non-coalition countries supported the coalition from the sidelines; Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction; illegal activity on behalf of non-coalition nations and Iraq’s use of non-military facilities to hide supplies and weaponry; and the impact of the war on the civilian population. One possible reason for the lack of significant difference between regions or time periods is in insufficient N in the sample. Another reason may be the source of the sample.