Australia, March 2003 : the print media, democracy and the decision to invade Iraq

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Communications


School of Communications and Arts


Faculty of Education and Arts


Models of mass media and democracy, as commonly discussed by media theorists, suggest there is a tight ideological relationship between the dominant discourse of mass media outlets and incumbent governments (Chomsky, 1997; Curran, 2002; Curran and Gurevitch, 2001; Curran and Park, 1996; Curran and Seaton, 1986; Herman and Chomsky, 1986; Herman and McChesney, 2001; Jacka, 2003; Schultz, 1998). In this thesis I analyse Australian print media opinion pages, and argue that the workings of Herman and Chomksy's Propaganda Model (1988, pp. 1-35) are evident in opinion page output on the Iraq issue. However, when applied to Australia and the Australian government's decision to invade Iraq in March 2003, as part of the Coalition of the Willing, I claim that the tight connection between mass media outlets and the dominant discourse of the government is not as evident. In other words, in this instance the dominant discourse that emerged from an analysis of print opinion pages was not as ideologically synchronised with the position of the Australian government as traditional theory would posit.

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