Coverage of Veterans of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the U.S. Media


This article explores how veterans are portrayed, and the type of news article coverage veterans receive, in the United States’ media. Particular focus is on coverage of veterans with regards to military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan.


To evaluate how the media frames veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this study systematically assesses the discourse on Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in the New York Times and Washington Post from 2003 to 2011. Our analysis of a stratified sample of 151 articles featuring veterans from either the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan finds that the media frames veterans as damaged by their service but deserving of government benefits and social assistance. When the media frames veterans as actively engaging in society, their social engagement is often because of or despite their injuries or mistreatment. We find interplay between victimization and deservingness such that depictions of the cohort as physically and mentally damaged complement and justify arguments for a sustained high level of benefits to accommodate the needs of veterans. We thus argue that generous benefits for veterans partly stem from their depiction as having suffered from their service.

Full Reference

Kleykamp, M. and Hipes, C., 2015. Coverage of Veterans of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the U.S. Media. Sociological Forum, 30(2), pp. 348-368.