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(04/01/03) -

Viewers Endure Effects Of War Images

(CPOD) Apr. 1, 2003 – Wall-to-wall coverage of the Iraq conflict appears to be taking a psychological toll on viewers in the United States, according to a poll by Princeton Survey Research Associates released by the Pew Center for the People and the Press. As dispatches continue to be featured on American television sets, 40 per cent of respondents say the war “depresses” them, a 10 per cent incre

(CPOD) Apr. 1, 2003 – Wall-to-wall coverage of the Iraq conflict appears to be taking a psychological toll on viewers in the United States, according to a poll by Princeton Survey Research Associates released by the Pew Center for the People and the Press. As dispatches continue to be featured on American television sets, 40 per cent of respondents say the war “depresses” them, a 10 per cent increase since the first days of fighting. Two-thirds of respondents say they “feel sad when watching” coverage, and 58 per cent say the images offered by news organizations can be “frightening.”

While missile explosions and air attacks were featured during the early days of coverage, images of intense fighting—as well as questions on the fate of coalition prisoners of war—may be having an effect on viewers.

The current conflict has introduced new elements for media coverage, such as embedded reporters who travel alongside troops and file their reports almost immediately.

Polling Data

Have you personally felt depressed by the war in Iraq?

Mar. 25-27

Mar. 23-24

Mar. 20-22

Yes

40%

35%

30%

No

59%

63%

69%

Don’t Know

1%

2%

1%


Do you feel sad when watching coverage of the war?

Mar. 25-27

Mar. 23-24

Mar. 20-22

Yes

67%

63%

56%

No

31%

34%

41%

Don’t Know

2%

3%

3%


Is it frightening to watch coverage of the war?

Mar. 25-27

Mar. 23-24

Mar. 20-22

Yes

58%

51%

45%

No

40%

46%

51%

Don’t Know

2%

3%

4%


Source: Princeton Survey Research Associates / Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
Methodology: Interviews to 2,034 American adults, conducted from Mar. 20 to Mar. 27, 2003. Margin of error is 4.5 per cent.