Customer Review

21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb study of the Israel/Palestine conflict, 14 Aug 2004
This review is from: Bad News From Israel (Paperback)
This superb book studies 189 BBC and ITV news bulletins on the Palestine/Israel conflict, in September-October 2000, October-December 2001, March 2002 and April 2002. The authors analyse how the bulletins described the conflict's causes, the casualties and the motives of the contending parties. The authors also study how people received the news.
The authors found that the bulletins gave little background to the conflict's causes: in September and October 2000, when the second Intifada started, only 17 of 3,500 lines of text were on the conflict's history. Too often, the bulletins presented the conflict as a self-perpetuating cycle of revenge, as if World War Two happened because Britain and Germany kept bombing each other.
The bulletins often said that Palestinians 'died', or were 'reported killed', or were 'killed in violence' or 'in clashes with Israeli forces'; it was left to the Guardian to be direct, for instance, "six Palestinians were killed by close-range bullets at the mosque by Israeli police." Both BBC and ITV repeatedly repeated the Israeli claim that a twelve-year old boy, Mohammed al-Durrah, was 'killed in crossfire', although their TV coverage clearly showed Israeli troops aiming at the boy: ITV even quoted President Clinton repeating the Israeli lie.
The authors found a consistent bias towards the Israeli government's perspective. In interviews, Israeli representatives had twice as many lines of text as Palestinians. The bulletins often accused Arafat, but never Sharon, of using violence for political ends, even though Sharon openly opposes the peace process. Bulletins reported Palestinian 'claims' of torture and murder by Israeli forces, but never checked whether the claims were true. Bulletins sympathetically discussed the Israeli government's tactics, perspectives, security concerns and rationales, but not the Palestinians'.
The bulletins always presented the US government favourably. They assumed that it 'even-handedly' seeks peace, never mentioning the frequent US vetoes of UN Resolutions, its massive annual gifts to Israel, or its open support for Sharon and hostility to Arafat.
Like all the Glasgow University Media Group's work, this is scholarship of the highest standard: it makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the conflict.
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