Ugly War, Pretty Package

Ugly War, Pretty Package

How CNN and Fox News Made the Invasion of Iraq High Concept
Deborah L. Jaramillo
Distribution: World
Publication date: 09/25/2009
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-22122-3
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Deborah L. Jaramillo investigates cable news' presentation of the Iraq War in relation to "high concept" filmmaking. High concept films can be reduced to single-sentence summaries and feature pre-sold elements; they were considered financially safe projects that would sustain consumer interest beyond their initial theatrical run. Using high concept as a framework for the analysis of the 2003 coverage of the Iraq War—paying close attention to how Fox News and CNN packaged and promoted the U.S. invasion of Iraq—Ugly War, Pretty Package offers a new paradigm for understanding how television news reporting shapes our perceptions of events.

Author Bio

Deborah Jaramillo is Assistant Professor in the Department of Film and Television at Boston University. She is a two-time Ford Fellow and sits on the board of the Texas Archive of the Moving Image.


“Jaramillo provides a highly illuminating analysis of the aesthetics and politics of recent TV war coverage. Well-researched . . . comprehensive and penetrating . . . offer[ing] highly original research and analysis.”
 — Douglas Kellner, author of Media Spectacle and the Crisis of Democracy

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Spectacle of Televised War
1. High Concept, Media Conglomeration, and Commercial News
2. The High-Concept War Narrative
3. Intertextuality, Genres, and Stars
4. War Characters
5. The Look and Sound of High-Concept War Coverage
6. The Marketing of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq
Conclusion: The Narrative Exits Screen Right, the Coverage Fizzles, and News is What, Exactly?
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Works Cited

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