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Andrew Roth on Front Page Depictions of War (with video)

Matt Renner

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"The papers, the corporate media are not giving their readers a full understanding through this powerful visual medium of the real cost of the war."

- Andrew Roth

    In an interview with Truthout's Geoffrey Millard, Assistant Professor Andrew Roth discussed his recent study of pictures that appear on the front pages of major newspapers and their portrayal of the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations.

    In "Covering War's Victims: A Content Analysis of Iraq and Afghanistan War Photographs in the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle," Roth and his colleagues Zoe Huffman, Jeff Huling, Kevin Stolle and Jocelyn Thomas detail the importance of visual media - specifically photographs - in newspapers. Their study examines the sociological importance of war photography and the use of photographs to spur awareness of the human cost of war.

    The study Roth conducted examined and cataloged the front page photos of The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle during the first year of the war in Iraq and the most recent year, in order to assess coverage of the wars by corporate media.

    Roth found that only 12.8 percent of the photos they analyzed "related in some way" to the wars. A fraction of the war-related pictures - 3.3 percent - represented "dead, injured or missing humans."

    Based on their analysis, Roth and his colleagues conclude that the media have served to distort the reality of the ongoing wars by covering up the loss of life and misery of civilians and of those involved in the fighting.

    The full report can be read in the latest edition of "Censored 2008", the annual publication of the media research group Project Censored.


    Roth is an assistant professor of sociology at Sonoma State University's School of Social Science and is the associate director of Project Censored.


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