2019-01-12

Media Coverage of Israel-Palestine — Update

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by Neil Godfrey

The findings demonstrate a persistent bias in coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian issue — one where Israeli narratives are privileged and where, despite the continued entrenchment of the occupation, the very topics germane to Palestinians’ day-to-day reality have disappeared. . . . While subtle, a consistent disproportion in article headlines — which by default gives a greater airtime to one side or occludes certain key issues — can impact public perception. — Owais Zaheer

It calls to attention the need to more critically evaluate the scope of coverage of the Israeli occupation and recognize that readers are getting, at best, a heavily filtered rendering of the issue.

. . . .

Since 1967, the year that the Israeli military took control of the West Bank, there has been an 85 percent overall decrease in mention of the term “occupation” in headlines about Israel, despite the fact that the Israeli military’s occupation of Palestinian territory has in fact intensified over this time. Mention of the term “Palestinian refugees,” meanwhile, has declined a stunning 93 percent. 

But there is also a hopeful silver lining:

Despite this grim political reality, there have been significant changes in U.S. media coverage of the conflict, driven in part by popular pressure coming from social media. There are also signs that Israel is becoming a partisan issue dividing liberals and conservatives in the United States, with polls showing that growing numbers of Americans would like their government to take a more evenhanded stance on the conflict.

U.S. government policy has yet to reflect these shifts in public sentiment, with the Trump administration falling over itself to project an unprecedentedly hostile and uncompromising stance toward Palestinian claims. Hard-line supporters of the Israeli government have seemingly shifted their approach from winning “hearts and minds” to punishing opponents: publishing blacklists of Palestinian activists, censoring public figures vocal about the conflict, and advocating for laws to restrict boycotts of Israeli goods.

Nonetheless, people who have followed U.S. debate on the conflict for decades say that there are serious tectonic changes occurring at the level of the American public, both in media and popular sentiment.

“Although news coverage is not evenhanded and is still generally skewed towards the Israeli perspective, there has been a massive shift over the past five years in how this issue is both reported and discussed in the United States,” said Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, a D.C.-based progressive think tank.

“We are seeing a shift in the types of stories that are being covered by major outlets, as well as the stances that public figures are willing to take. There are still huge problems, but things are changing. The discourse on Israel-Palestine is nothing like it was in decades past.”

From The Intercept

The full report:

Download (PDF, 617KB)

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Neil Godfrey

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6 Comments

  • proudfootz
    2019-01-12 23:30:31 UTC - 23:30 | Permalink

    Boycott, Divest, Sanction. It worked in South Africa.

    • Roger Pearse
      2019-01-13 13:30:15 UTC - 13:30 | Permalink

      And turned it into the paradise it is today!

      • Amy!
        2019-01-13 14:48:31 UTC - 14:48 | Permalink

        As opposed to the paradise it was in the apartheid period?

      • Neil Godfrey
        2019-01-13 21:31:34 UTC - 21:31 | Permalink

        One often sees Western responses like this one. A similar lament has been made over East Timor and the ruinous state they found themselves in after their violent struggle for independence from Indonesia.

        Yes, in many respects the problems have worsened. There are many factors involved in that. But those who have gained their independence are at least able to say that the problems are theirs to resolve. They are no longer treated as second class people. They at least have the dignity of being responsible for themselves.

        They may even look at each other and wonder if the struggle for independence was all worth it, given some of the problems that have come about or worsened since independence.

        Sometimes the cost of achieving a dignity and self-respect that all of us deserve and need is very dear and takes quite some time to be paid. It is unfortunate that sometimes apologists for the old order are sometimes quick to impute racial inferiority to being behind the reasons for the new or aggravated problems.

  • RoHa
    2019-01-13 04:25:34 UTC - 04:25 | Permalink

    Go to Mondoweiss for more information.

    https://mondoweiss.net

  • Marty
    2019-01-14 21:24:14 UTC - 21:24 | Permalink

    “Since 1967, the year that the Israeli military took control of the West Bank, there has been an 85 percent overall decrease in mention of the term “occupation” in headlines about Israel, despite the fact that the Israeli military’s occupation of Palestinian territory has in fact intensified over this time. Mention of the term “Palestinian refugees,” meanwhile, has declined a stunning 93 percent.”

    The problem with this opinion piece is that there is no occupation! Israel owns the land and they were attacked in 1967 and therefore have the right to the land they won in that war. The Israelis in the hope of having peace with their neighbors gave them back the temple mount. But, was there peace….. No, and there will be no peace till the Arabs / Palestinians submit to the Israeli Government just like each of us have to submit to the Government we live under. The reason “Palestinian refugees” is deceasing in use in the social media is simply, people are waking up to the “big lie”, the whole world knows and history supports that the Palestinian people do not want peace with Israel.

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