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Abstract

In his paper "Media Icons of War and the Instrumenalisation of Images in US-American Media Today," Reinhold Viehoff argues that the destruction of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad in April 2004 by the US army represents an attempt to instrumentalise the logic of mass media as a strategy of public diplomacy. Viehoff explains the logic of mass media and public diplomacy of the US government and US media today in the context of the history of the destruction of monuments as played out on the landscape of media during and following the demise of the Soviet empire. Viehoff proposes that the media images of the toppling of Hussein's statue is linked, historically, to the iconic representations of the divestiture of Central and East European dictatorships. Further, the divestiture of tyranny of the Soviet empire and its media images have been capitalised on in the strategic media image construction of the deposition of Hussein's government of tyranny. Based on specific examples of media images, Viehoff analyses the process in which the iconisation of images occurs in the case of Hussein's divestiture. In his conclusion, Viehoff proposes that the strategy of media and its icons used in the US media suggest misguided intentions. These misguided intentions are due to particularities in the processes of reflection in current US-American media systems.

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