A Muslim scholar on the BBC World Service made a point that is obvious once you think about it: graphics are more important than the written word in the Middle East because the mass of people are illiterate.
The planted stories in the Iraqi press were a waste of money because the people you are trying to reach can't read. The religious leaders are the majority of the literate class, so everything goes through their filter. Imams at Friday prayers are the source of much of the "news" most people receive.
This is why pictures and cartoons cause such furor: they don't require literacy. This is why radio, TV, and graphics are required to get a point across. The written word is not an effective mass media form around the Persian Gulf.