The ‘War on Terror’ in Western Media: A Case Study of Depicting President George W. Bush in Editorial Cartoons

Shah Nister Kabir, Shahira Fahmy, Chris Rudd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines editorial political cartoons outside the United States that featured U.S. former President George W. Bush. It plans to assess how the U.S. President was depicted in editorial cartoons in Western media and whether he was identified as a stereotypical threat during his US-led war on terrorism and the invasion of the Iraq war in 2003. Editorial cartoons chosen for this analysis is based on a case study of editorial cartoons selected from a paper in New Zealand, a country whose government did not support the Iraq War in principle and a country that enjoys higher press freedom than the United States (Sheffield, 2013). Generally editorial cartoons are political in nature, making them quite significant during times of great controversy. New Zealand, a Western nation with close historic, cultural and linguistic ties with the United States, had its Labor Party-led refuse to be a part of the US-led war on terrorism. The Otago Daily Times (ODT), the newspaper selected as the case study for the current analysis, is the only major newspaper in New Zealand that is locally owned with a significant impact on public opinion (See Kabir&Bourk, 2012). This makes the exploration of its editorial cartoons and their potential influences significant in making generalizations about similar content made available in other free Western media that held parallel views toward the former U.S. President and his led war on terrorism. Despite the appearance of political cartoons in all major newspapers worldwide, researchers are yet to show increased interest in researching this format of media representation. This study therefore is an attempt to cover this deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Communication Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Anti-Americanism
  • New Zealand
  • President Bush
  • editorial cartoon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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