Government Manipulation of the Press during the 1956 Suez Crisis

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There is a general agreement amongst historians that the mass media played a vital role in the national debate surrounding Anthony Eden's policies during the 1956 Suez crisis. However, little attempt has been made to study the relationship between the government and the mass media during Suez, nor, for that matter, what role public opinion played in the Prime Minister's thinking. This article examines Eden's propaganda strategy during Suez, then focuses on his assiduous efforts to increase the hostility of the British press towards Nasserism and enlist the newspapers as active supporters in a policy which ultimately meant war. It is argued that Eden was remarkably successful given his reputation as one of Fleet Street's most celebrated victims. Although he faced opposition from sections of the left‐wing press throughout, Fleet Street was on the whole consistently more aggressive than was public opinion. This has implications not only for our understanding of the Suez crisis, but also for the much‐vaunted strength and independence of Britain's fourth estate
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-288
Number of pages15
JournalContemporary Record
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994


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