The Nature and Impact of War Coverage
Department of Defense Policy
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) conducts strategic communications. These communications are the transmission of integrated and coordinated U.S. government themes and messages that advance U.S. interests and policies through synchronized interagency efforts (DODD 5122.5, 2000). The guidance provided by the DoD highlights principles involving the release of information. The Principles of Information address the DoD’s policy of disseminating information in a timely and accurate fashion. When a request is presented from an outside agency (i.e., the public, media), and is within the parameters of national security interests and statutory mandates or exceptions, every attempt is made to comply with the request (DODD 5122.5, 2000). Information is not released if it jeopardizes or has a negative impact on national or operational security, threatens the privacy of citizens, or is unlawful (DODD 5122.5, 2000). Information will not be intentionally classified just to avoid releasing such information (DODD 5122.5, 2000).
To further safeguard the public’s right to access information, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) works in conjunction with the Principles of Information. The FOIA came into effect on July 4, 1967 and “firmly established an effective statutory right of public access to executive branch information in the federal government” (Freedom of Information Act Guide, 2004, p.1). There are seven subsections to the FOIA which establish categories of the types of information that are releasable, records that can be reviewed and copied, exemptions, and definitions of terms (Freedom of Information Act Guide, 2004). The FOIA has undergone revisions over the years to refine its intent and incorporate modern technology to ensure it remains a “vital and continuously developing government disclosure mechanism” (Freedom of Information Act Guide, 2004, p. 3). Under the Principles of Information, the FOIA is fully supported in both “letter and spirit” (DODD 5122.5, 2000, p. 8).
The Statement of DoD Principles for News Media provides guidance for “open and independent reporting” for covering military operations in and outside combat zones (DODD 5122.5, 2000, p. 9). Current DoD policy on the release of visual images depicting casualties is based on military doctrine that uses “common sense, good taste and awareness of safety and security concerns” (AR 360-1, 2000, p. 4). In time of combat operations, the release of such images as photographs or video recordings of recognizable wounded or deceased personnel not identified by name, is prohibited. The overall intent of both DoD and the Army policy and directives are to give every consideration to the rights of the individuals concerned and the effect of publishing information or photographs and videos would have on families and friends (Army Regulation 360-1).
The Content of War Coverage
The effect of casualties on public opinion has been the subject of much debate. One view is that recent, marginal casualties accumulating at an increasing rate are critical in predicting the direction and magnitude of change in the level of opposition at home (Gartner & Segura, 1998). “Marginal” is defined as those casualties above and beyond what is experienced in normal operations. It could be casualties resulting from a single catastrophic event or higher than the usual casualties suffered in an ordinary combat event. Gartner and Segura (1998) state “the temporally proximate costs, represented as marginal casualty figures, are an important additional aspect of human costs and a critical factor in determining wartime opinion” (p. 278).
In his 1973 treatment, War, Presidents and Public Opinion, John Mueller posits the log of cumulative casualties alone swayed public opinion about war, specifically the Korean and Vietnam wars. Other researchers disagree. According to Gartner and Segura (1998), it is the marginal casualties, not cumulative casualties that are important in determining support for a particular war. Gartner and Segura (1998) argue use of cumulative casualties as the sole basis for measuring human war costs is wrong for a few reasons. It cannot help but be correlated with time; the importance of turning points in the war and events which proved to be decisive are not given the importance they should have.
The advantages of the analysis of marginal casualties are many (Gartner & Segura, 1998). First, marginal casualties are more reflective of the information environment in which opinion is formed and can account for important events. Second, marginal casualties are not correlated with time. Third, marginal casualties capture the importance of salient events, so we are better able to account for the response in opinion.
The twin phenomena of casualty shyness and casualty aversion has been the subject of discussion since the U.S. involvement in Somalia. Casualty aversion is the term given to two distinct concerns: the number of casualties the American people will support and the assumption that the numbers are subject to collapse under the right circumstances (Dauber, 2001).
Visual imagery relates to the second concern as it represents the “right” circumstance to “collapse the numbers” Dauber, 2001, p. 205). Casualty shyness is the belief held by the military that it can no longer fight wars without the support of the American people. Furthermore, they believe one of the problems with garnering public support is the image of servicemembers coming home in body bags. Casualty shyness has a great deal to do with how the public interprets events when confronted with these images, and how the policy makers and political pundits frame them (Dauber, 2001).
According to Dauber (2001), public support for war is viewed to be brittle under certain circumstances. This was first evident by photos of the Vietnam War, which was due in part to the fact this was the first war for which images were widely available. The majority of these images were captured by military filmographers and depicted combat, combat operations, and moving of casualties. How does that compare to images from the current war? The DoD’s regulations make unlawful the release of any information considered harmful or that would jeopardize or otherwise have a negative impact. The DoD has issued guidelines on what is and what is not lawful and is very accommodating to media who wish to enter the war zone.
In spite of this, the media maintains the right to choose what it will broadcast. There has been little data as to what the coverage of Iraq has been in relation to what content is emphasized, how objective reports are, what the overall tone is, and what the interest is for reporters. This study will examine the content of these broadcasts and therefore posits the following research questions:
RQ1: What is the content focus of broadcast news from Iraq?
RQ2: To what degree do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq manifest objective reporting or opinion?
RQ3: What is the overall tone of broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq?
RQ4: How often do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq feature casualties? Are the casualties U.S. forces, Iraqi forces, or Iraqi civilians?
RQ5: When broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq feature casualties, do they also include reports of U.S. public opinion about continuing U.S. military presence in Iraq?
Framing is how journalists present their stories, and in the process, give the stories meaning (Kosicki, 2003). A frame enables someone to make sense of a situation or occurrence. Goffman (1974) suggests people understand the world around them by using frames. Frames select attention to particular aspects of reality described (Entman, 1993). The choices journalists make in presenting the news not only affect the salience of issues but also how stories are interpreted by audiences (Pan & Kosicki, 1993). By framing issues in certain ways, the media influence the way people perceive a problem or issue and its consequences, possibly altering their final evaluation of the issues (Jasperson, Shah, Watts, Faber, & Fan, 1998). How the media frames a story impacts social reality (Dillard, Solomon, & Samp, 1996) because frames call attention to certain aspects of reality and direct attention away from other aspects (Entman, 1993). Frames also have the ability to influence a person’s support for an issue (Terkildsen & Schnell, 1997).
Overall tone of coverage might impact how the story is framed. An important aspect of framing is whether a story is presented thematically or episodically. According to Iyenger (1991) episodic framing seeks to personalize issues; whereas, thematic framing presents collective or general evidence about issues. Thematic frames provide more evidence, depict the issue more broadly, and place them in a context: Historical, geographical, or otherwise (Iyengar, 1991). Iyengar and Simon (1993) call thematic coverage takeout or backgrounder reports. Thematic frames do not increase salience as powerfully as episodic framing. On the other hand, episodic frames are based on illustrative examples (Iyengar, 1991). They are comprised of concrete instances or specific events (Iyener & Simon, 1993). Most stories contain aspects of both episodic or thematic framing, but Iyengar (1991) finds there is a dominant frame (episodic or thematic). This study will look into the framing content of these broadcasts and therefore posits the following research question:
RQ6: Do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq employ more episodic or thematic framing?
The Impact of War Coverage
Emotion and Affect
For military public affairs practitioners, how graphic pictures from the war zone affect public attitude about U.S. involvement in combat operations is a continuing concern. Can graphic combat footage turn a war supporter into a war opponent? Some think so, and this study is based on the premise that it is crucial to understand how combat images are processed; are they processed more systematically thus affecting more negative views of the Iraq war and discourage support? Currently, there is no hard evidence on the impact of news footage of combat operations in news stories on an individual’s attitude. There are some studies in the advertising realm relating the impact of photographs on attitude that can be drawn from (Singh, Lessig, & Kim, 2000). Some scholars now state that affect refers to the general valence of an emotional state; emotion refers to definite types of feelings that occur in response to any given stimuli (Guerrero, Andersen, & Trost, 2005).
Affect is a more general term than emotions or moods. Guerreo et al (2005) define affect simply as the positive or negative valence of the emotional experience. Guerrero et al (2005), define affect as “the irreducible aspect” of emotion “that gives feelings their emotional, noncognitive character” (p. 300).
Most psychologists basically conceive of an emotion as a complex sequence of responses to a personally relevant stimulus. These reactions occur throughout the brain and body and include cognitive evaluations, bodily and neural changes, motor impulses, and emotion-related thoughts, as well as a particular feeling. Moreover, psychologists usually regard emotions as being focused on a certain object or issue. But affect can also be produced by vague, barely noticed, or even subliminal occurrences, such as a warm, sunny day or a familiar, pleasant melody (Berkowitz, 2000).
Affective valence is considered to be the most fundamental feature of emotion and is thought to be separate from cognitive, bodily and behavioral ties (Guerrero et al, 2005). Further, affect is thought to be an internal state rather than external. Though external states may very well contribute to the way affect is experienced or expressed, it is important to understand these external states are not emotions in their own right.
Emotional responses have both physiological conditions and physiological response components (Frijda, 1986). The three major groups of physiological response mechanisms identified with emotion are those controlled by the autonomic nervous system, fluctuations in the secretion of hormones, and neural responses (Frijda, 1986). Autonomic variables related to emotions are: increased heart rate, blood pressure and blood flow distribution, respiration, electrodermal activity and sweating, gastrointestinal and urinary activity secretory functions, and trembling (Frijda, 1986) to name a few. These physiological responses, known as arousal, are involuntary.
Once emotion is stirred, people have to cope with that emotion. From the outset, they take a position toward their emotion and the consequences of their emotional actions (Frijda, 1986). This stance and subsequent action(s) taken is part of a regulation process. Regulation is defined as an occurrence of processes designed to modify other processes, actions, and experiences elicited by the given situation (Frijda, 1986) and comes in a variety of forms. Regulation of confrontation signifies a person’s desire to steer clear of emotional events. Appraisal regulation means that within a sizeable range, appraisals may be modified by selective attention and self-serving cognitive activities. Impulse control refers to an individual’s ability to refrain from expressing emotional urges, essentially pushing the emotion into the subconscious, or by amplifying those emotions (Frijda, 1986).
Cognitive-Experiential Self Theory
Processing news stories of military operations in Iraq that feature footage of combat will be more systematically processed by viewers than those stories without footage. This is based on the logic of the Cognitive-Experiential Self Theory, or CEST, as posited by Epstein and Pacini (2001). Visualization is consistent with the view of CEST in that the experiential system encodes events primarily imagistically. To the extent this is true, imagined experience functions in the experiential system in a similar manner as real experience (Epstein & Pacini 2001). Berger and Luckmann (1966) assert that because people experience reality based on what they see, hear, and experience, and if individuals have no direct contact with those who are different, they frequently use media images to show them others’ reality.
CEST suggests three abstract systems that are unpredictably accessible to human conscious awareness. The conceptual systems include the rational conceptual system, the experiential conceptual system, and the associationistic conceptual system. Epstein (1989) suggests the essence of the experiential conceptual system is “is a system adapted to immediate action…which is better suited for analysis where delayed action is appropriate” (p. 10). In contrast to the experiential conceptual system, the rational conceptual system is distinguished by conscious, logical thinking. Characterized by unconscious processes and creativity, the associationistic conceptual system, differs even more from the other systems and “consists of an altered state of consciousness” (p.10). The system reveals itself in dreams and states of delirium, when cortical control is reduced. The systems overlap, and as a result, “the rational system can become aware of the content in the other systems.” Additionally, “it is possible for individuals to coordinate the three systems (p. 10).” Epstein (1989) asserts the three conceptual systems can be a source of conflict and stress if there is a lack of integration.
It is important to note that Epstein (1989) maintains the idea that people “often consciously identify themselves with their rational conceptual system” since it is the system that makes sense to them because it is “rational” (p. 10). Seemingly, individuals have a tendency to be unaware of the impact of how their behavior is determined by their experiential conceptual system that operates automatically behind consciousness. Behavior “is far more often determined by what ‘feels’ right and is therefore determined by motives in the experiential conceptual system” (Epstein, 1989, p. 10).
CEST, being a personal theory of reality, involves fundamentals that assume repetitive behavior patterns and from emotions (Epstein, 1989). While a single example of behavior is usually determined mostly by situational influences, by cumulatively observing behavior over many situations and occasions, a specific situational influence can be cancelled out, and broad, stable dispositions detected (Epstein, 1989). Some implicit beliefs in a personal theory of reality are specific to certain types of situations and can only be summarized “within an appropriately narrow range of stimulus variation that is confined to the class of stimuli over which one wishes to generalize” (Epstein & O’Brien, 1985, p. 11).
Epstein (1989) describes values in the experiential conceptual system as whatever is significant to an individual which will, in turn, be valued by the individual. The values may be either negative or positive and are believed to exist in all human beings because they build from common biological constructs and general living conditions. As a result, individuals have pleasure and pain centers and experience grief when they cannot understand their experience. All individuals are also cared for by parent figures and nurtured in social groups which ultimately cultivate a need for “belonging or relatedness” (Epstein, 1989, p.15).
Values within CEST are present at two levels: a conscious, verbal level and a subconscious, experiential level. On both levels, the values can differ in substance and degree since they function by different rules. Epstein (1989) asserts whatever is of value of significance to a person will be valued by a person whether it is positive or negative. Four basic functions of a personal theory of reality create four basic values which many assume to be present in all human beings because they develop from common biological arrangements and common living conditions. According to Epstein (1989), all individuals implicitly value (a) maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain; (b) assimilating the data of reality, which requires maintaining stability and coherence of conceptual systems; (c) belonging or relatedness; and (d) positive self-evaluation.
With respect to theory, these values accomplish two things: they provide a basis for a hierarchical organization of values and indicate whether an important value has been ignored when accounting for a particular behavior. Seemingly, individuals have a tendency to be unaware of the impact of how their behavior is determined by their experiential conceptual systems that operates automatically behind consciousness. Epstein (1989) asserts behavior is far more often determined by what feels right and is therefore determined by motives in the experiential conceptual system. With this assertion this paper posits:
RQ7: How do broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of U.S. versus Iraqi combat differ in how they are processed by viewers?
Emotion and Visuals.
Strivers (1994) believed visual images appeal to human beings on an emotions level and posited the more vibrant, excited, or convincing an image is, the more likely it will affect an individual. These theories suggest seeing visuals of actual combat could affect people on a deeper level than just text or photos alone because these visuals are processed differently than other media, and they are more convincing because it is sometimes real-time images of combat operations in Iraq.
As Epstein’s CEST work suggests, the emotionality associated with the experiential mode may have important human adaptive functions that supplement our orderly, logical processes (Singer & Singer, 2005). The experiential system involves the accumulation of concrete experiences (episodic memories) into tentative, emotionally nuanced story-like generalizations or models of one’s life situation or of the world. Roeh (1989) claims the “romantic and melodramatic storytelling” (Roeh, p. 168) of journalism uses television news as a vehicle for conveying emotion over information (Roeh, p. 168).
It is widely recognized that emotion has an important function in the process of cognition and behavior (Clore & Ortony, 2000). Research shows attention, perception, memory, and decision making are all affected by emotion (Cacioppo & Gardner, 1999). Steinfatt and Roberts’ (1983) research has also linked emotion to the interpretation of messages produced by the media. An increasing number of studies have shown that viewers use both verbal content and nonverbal cues to process and interpret messages viewed in the media (Reeves & Nass, 1996).
Specifically, Newhagen and Reeves (1992) posit compelling negative images, such as images of war, affect memory, both quality and quantity, differently than verbal information. Newhagen and Reeves (1992) argue compelling negative images “retroactively inhibit memory for material that precedes them while they proactively enhance memory for material that follows them” (p. 25). Further, Nabi (2003) states “pictures have an unquestioned capacity to arouse emotions, and such arousal might influence attitudes directly or indirectly by impacting message processing” (p. 202). Nabi (2003) posits audiovisual redundancy is imperative to improve learning and recall, but “the placement of emotionally evocative visuals may be even more critical” (p. 203).
Research in neuroscience and cognitive psychology has shown “emotional arousal can shape cognition without an individual being aware of the process” (Zhou, 2005, p. 26). Further, emotion theory posits that as evaluators, people assess all stimuli “with respect to their personal relevance and significance” (Zhou, 2005, p. 26). Television brings another dimension to images that photographs cannot. Television brings sound and movement to the senses bringing about different emotions than print media does.
The dimensional theory of emotion posits that all emotions are located in a two-dimensional space of valence and arousal (Ravaja, 2004). Ravaja (2004) states “the valence dimension refers to the hedonic quality or pleasantness of an affective experience,” and the arousal dimension “refers to the level of activation associated with the emotional response” (Ravaja, 2004, p. 109). The systems of CEST, both the rational and experiential, can work together to produce significant behavior. Much like the dimensional theory, they arouse great emotion. According to CEST, imagined experience is similar to real experience in a person’s experiential (intuitive) mode of information processing. In other words, visualized experience is similar to real experience in people’s intuitive-experiential system but not in their analytical-rational system (Epstein & Pacini, 2001).
Visuals can have a dramatic impact on a viewer’s involvement and feelings toward an event or issue. Newhagen and Reeves (1992) found the increased cognitive load, caused by negative arousal raised by intense and vivid images on television, actually caused viewers to forget the verbal and visual information presented prior to the image and heightened their memory for visual and factual information presented after the compelling images.
Television has been considered more emotionally arousing than print media (Cho, Boyle, Keum, Shevy, McLeod, Shah, & Pan, 2003). Cho et al. (2003) state television gives viewers a “sense of presence” through the vivid images using technological features (as seen in zoom, slow motion, and sound) that television conveys (p. 312). The distinct norms and patterns of broadcast news production “leads to greater emotionality in tone and verbal expressions in news coverage, which in turn, can elicit more emotional reaction from an audience attempting to make sense out of news coverage” (Cho et al., 2003, pp. 312-313).
In concert with the technological features of television discussed above, Cho et al. (2003) argue that emotional storytelling in television (including tone, emotional cues, and verbal expression), “is a crucial feature of television news that can elicit emotional responses” (p. 313). Therefore, emotional language can be characterized as a “distinct dimension of contact features of television messages as compared to print media” (Cho et al., 2003, p. 313).
The intellectual impact of imagery is less important than the emotional force of an image, since imagery affects a receiver emotionally before cognitively dissecting the image into intellectual components (Strivers, 1994). This influence is precisely what news producers are aiming at since “the image is intended to make an impression, to have an emotion impact on its audience” (Strivers, 1994, p. 132). Unlike photographs portraying political leaders or scenic landscapes, images of military combat operations evoke some type of feeling. Hence, this study posits:
H1: Broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat elicit more negative affective responses in viewers than stories featuring footage of Iraqi combat.
H2: Broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat are processed more experientially by viewers than stories without footage of combat.
Graber (1987) states, people trust what they see more than what they hear. They gain a sense of actually witnessing an event when they see it presented in pictures. The perceived realism of visuals lends them credibility. Seeing is, indeed, believing (Graber, 1987). If news coverage is more believable, it should exert more influence on people’s attitudes than text. This study examined the impact of broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq by comparing those with footage of U.S. combat, footage of Iraqi combat, and stories without footage on viewers’ affect and attitudes about continued U.S. military presence in Iraq. The study posits the following hypothesis:
H3: Broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat exert greater negative influence on viewers’ support for continued U.S. military presence in Iraq more than stories without footage of combat.
Antidote to the Impact of War Coverage
While Americans have been exposed to images of their war dead since Mathew Brady published his first photographs during the Civil War (Library of Congress Web site, 2006), it was only during the Vietnam War (McLaughlin, 2001) that they were first presented with large amounts of films and video, full-color motion pictures that created a sense of immediacy and reality, and whose emotional impact was immensely more powerful than that of the still, mostly black-and-white images they had been exposed to in the past. Almost ubiquitous broadcast media practitioners ranged freely throughout the war zone gathering images of American and enemy casualties, and, increasingly as the war dragged on, of the sufferings of the Vietnamese civilian population. Free of official military or civilian censorship, and no longer bound by the informal rules of self-censorship that media regularly followed in previous wars, they transmitted their images daily back home where the American public was bombarded with them right in their own living rooms.
The question now arises as to whether a similar outpouring of video images of casualties – American and Iraqi – might not in time erode the American public’s support for the ongoing struggle against the insurgency in Iraq. To a certain extent, this study is built on a similar previous study involving still news photographs (Pfau et al., 2005). This study investigates whether it is possible to preempt the persuasive influence of news video of combat operations using the approach called inoculation.
Developed in the early 1960s during the post-Korean War era by psychologist William McGuire, the inoculation theory provides individuals with means to resist persuasion and used the term inoculation (immunization) to describe the process. This theory does not deal with change of attitude, per se, but the processes through which one may resist attitude change attempts in interpersonal interaction or through mass media.
The theory explains that if one is presented with weak arguments against an individual’s beliefs, one will be able to fight off that attack and subsequent attacks. If beliefs should be attacked, the individual will develop or bolster its immune system, which contains arguments and strategies to counter future attacks on attitudes. Similar to when an individual receives the smallpox vaccine, the body develops resistance to the virus itself.
McGuire and Papageorgis’s (1961) introduced the medical analogy of inoculation to the study of resistance to persuasion, specifically in forced exposure situations. The authors discuss how best to protect a person from a physical disease. They set forth a “supportive therapy” of exercise, rest, nutrition, etc., to make them physically stronger, or by infecting them with a weakened version of a virus. This causes the body to generate antibodies to fight off the deadly virus itself. They applied this analogy to the area of resistance to persuasion.
McGuire (1961) expanded on the study of specific inoculation techniques by testing whether passive or active or passive defense – or a combination– were more efficacious in helping individuals defend their beliefs against subsequent attacks. The study found when one defense technique was used the passive defense conferred more immunity, but the active defense worked better against novel counterarguments. Use of both techniques together was more effective only when subsequent attack involved the same counterarguments. Against novel counterarguments, the single defense was as effective as the double defense.Threat serves as a ‘motivational trigger’ in the inoculation process (Pfau, 1997).
Specifically, “threat motivates the receiver to bolster attitudes, unleashing an internal process” (Pfau, 1997, p.137). On the other hand, Pfau (1997) states “refutational preemption involves the process of initially raising and then answering one or more specific challenges to existing attitudes’ and that ‘the two components, threat and refutational preemption, work in tandem. First, threat and then refutational preemption” (Pfau, 1997, p.137). Threat motivates the receiver to defend against potential attacks rather than rehearsing for specific arguments and rendering themselves defenseless against different arguments that might be encountered. Inoculation spreads a “blanket of protection” over the receiver against a wide array of potential counterarguments rather than merely providing limited resistance to specific attack messages (Pfau, 1997; Pfau & Kenski, 1990).
A previous investigation conducted by Pfau et al (2005) made a theoretical case that print news photographs influence readers. Compared to text alone, news photographs of the casualties of war elicit powerful negative emotional responses. Because they compel attention and are processed quickly, yet deeply, they undermine overall attitudes in support of continued presence of U.S. military in Iraq.
The study (Pfau, et al 2005) predicted that print news photographs of the casualties of war trigger strong emotional responses in readers. Pfau et al (2005) also said that the underlying rationale for this expectation is that news photographs are processed using more of the right brain, which is more holistic and emotional, enhancing the process and memorability of the images. Due to the vivid nature of images, photographs compel interest and attention which evokes an emotional response, which supports one of their main hypotheses. This study attempts to expand on the previous study to determine if inoculation can protect against the impact of broadcast images depicting images of war. In addition, this study predicts:
H4: Inoculation pretreatments reduce the negative affective and attitudinal influences of broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat.
The previous study by Pfau and colleagues (2005) found that the result of the investigation suggest that news stories of casualties of war conveyed via photographs are emotionally compelling. The results are consistent with findings drawn from commercial advertising images that impact receivers emotionally, even before they engage the cognitively. “The results of the previous investigation suggest that images of the casualties of war stir negative emotions, but we concede that more research is needed to further document the emotional effects of print news photographs” (Pfau, 2005, p.29).
The results of the study also suggest that stories of casualties of war conveyed via photographs with caption elicit greater negative affect. Also, vividness implies that photographs of the casualties of war should exert greater emotional impact when presented with minimal narrative. Pictorial content is raw; it involves instinct and emotion, bypassing logic.
Pictorial content asserts boldly, absent more rational considerations. By contrast, text dampens negative emotions through its emphasis in reasoning, explanation, qualification, and nuance. Compared to images, text consist in linguistic arguments, which people are trained to resist; whereas images bypass natural defenses and are based in internal counterarguing.
The results of the investigation by Pfau and his colleagues (2005) also posited that news photographs of the casualties of war influence readers’ attitudes about the desirability of war, and it offered a number of theoretical rationales for this prediction. The study also argues news photographs compel interest and attention in readers because they are vivid. That same research argued that news photographs draw readers’ attention that text alone cannot. Predicting that:
H5 Compared to print inoculation messages, print plus visual inoculation pretreatments are more effective in reducing the negative affective and attitudinal influence of broadcast news stories about military operations in Iraq featuring footage of combat.