The Gulf War of 1991 was triggered by Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait. Many critics of the war claimed it was primarily motivated by Western oil interests in the Gulf region, not removing a dangerous dictator Saddam Hussein.
For the media, the Gulf War put CNN on the map as a global news network. The media however were subjected to US Army censorship through a “pool” system. It was claimed that the US Army insisted on controlling media coverage of the war after experience of the Vietnam War when media reports turned public opinion against that war. The US media in general were criticized for their pro-war bias. The Gulf War nonetheless marked the outset of global news newtworks, starting with CNN and followed by the BBC, Al Jazeera, France 24 and others.
For a background timeline to the first Gulf War, see Gulf War: Background Briefing. For censored media coverage of the war, see these views from anchorman Walter Cronkite and CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour. For a criticism of the pro-war bias in media coverage, see this article from FAIR: “Gulf War Coverage: The Worst Censorship Was at Home“. For a US Administration viewpoint, see this article by Pete Williams, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs during the war: “The Press and the Persian Gulf War“. For the role of global PR firms in “selling” the war, see “How PR Sold the War in the Persian Gulf“.
Finally, see this article in The Atlantic, “Why the Gulf War Was Not in the National Interest” and “The Gulf War: 8 Myths“. And this article in the New York Times: “Victory over Iraq Was Swift But Hardly Flawless“.
Below is an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about covering the Gulf War and the constraints of censorship.