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Listening Post

Ten years on: The fall of Saddam's statue

Was the overplayed television moment truly a turning point in the Iraq invasion or was it myth-making by the media?

Last Modified: 05 May 2013 11:27
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On 9 April 2003, less than a month after the US invasion of Iraq had begun, television screens around the world broadcast an event taking place in Firdos Square, at the centre of Baghdad.

The footage showed a statue of Saddam Hussein being pulled down amidst a crowd of cheering Iraqis and triumphant American soldiers.

The pictures fit neatly alongside the spin from the Bush White House - it symbolised the end of a war that in fact had only just begun.

Since then analysts have theorised that the event was a classic example of military manipulation of the media, but the reality is much more complex.

Ten years since that made for TV moment grabbed headlines around the world, we go back to analyse the event, the media coverage of it and the symbolism of the pictures.

Was it truly a turning point in the invasion or myth-making by the media? Some say the footage was overplayed but was it over-interpreted too?

The Listening Post’s Nicholas Muirhead looks at the fall of Saddam Hussein's statue: Why did the story play out the way it did?

"Twenty-four hour news is a giant echo chamber, and when you introduce something that is a partial truth or a myth, it bounces around this echo chamber and creates a universal truth that people accept. The statue of Saddam Hussein comes tumbling down, you replay it thousands of times within a few hours, and that is the image that you get."

- Rageh Omar, ITV News correspondent

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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