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Bad News From Israel Paperback – 20 Jun 2004

4.1 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press; Reprint edition (20 Jun. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745320619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745320618
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 592,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


The book does a very good job of summarising for the reader the complex historical background to present day Israel. It covers a lot of ground in a clear and readable manner and is particularly good at airing different views about the Arab-Israeli conflict. (Professor Avi Shlaim, University of Oxford)

A remarkable book, very comprehensive, with an innovative approach and full of interesting examples. It is convincing and very useful not only for researchers but for the general public as well. (Professor Lucrecia Escudero Chauvel, Universités de Lille III and Paris VIII)

Bad News from Israel reveals remarkable levels of ignorance about why things are as they are. What's more, the analysis offered here strongly suggests that the media are intimately linked to the perpetuation of this unhappy situation. (Professor Frank Webster, City University, London)

This superb study ... [blends] together material on what the media do, why they do it, and how their modes of reporting affect public knowledge and interest. (Professor Edward S. Herman, University of Pennsylvannia)

Coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is often dangerously superficial. Bad News from Israel is a strong contribution to scholarship and public debate. (Professor John D.H. Downing, Southern Illinois University)

This volume is a must-read for those journalists and media critics who are tired of the same old debates about objectivity, and wish to move onto more sophisticated questions about how media bias actually works to alter public perceptions of important issues. (The Republic)

Philo and Berry have torn away the veil that has long obscured fair and objective reporting of the region. (Vertigo)

... superb ... 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 (Will Podmore)

About the Author

Greg Philo is Professor at Glasgow University, and is a member of the Glasgow Media Group. He is the author with David Miller of Market Killing (2000) and with Mike Berry of Bad News from Israel (Pluto Press, 2004).

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Greg Philo, Professor of Communications at Glasgow University, carried out a three year study into the relationship between television and the construction of public knowledge - how we understand foreign events etc. What he found was that 80% rely mainly on TV news, and that people (esp. young people) were very confused about events.
Philo DOESN'T claim that reporters and news organisations are deliberately biased, but that a lack of historical perspective causes confusion. A huge majority of the British public thought that the 'settlers' were Palestinian, and that the 'occupied territories' were Israeli land being occupied by Palestinians. They thought that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was just another border conflict - they didn't realise that a people had been dispossessed.
This loss of the origins of the conflict has interesting consequences. Palestinians were always seen as initiating violence, and Israelis as responding. Palestinian action was never understood as a 'response' to occupation and repression and loss of land. People assume suicide bombs are the result of 'mad-men', rather than emerging from a particular set of social conditions.
Reporters' subconscious use of words like 'hit-back', 'retaliate', 'pay-back time' were only used in terms of the Israeli action; while 'atrocity', 'murder' and 'cold-blood' were only used to refer to Palestinian action. This use of words tacitly endorses Israeli action while condemning Palestinian action. Can you imagine a suicide bomb being described in a news report as 'Palestinians hit back for 35 years of occupation? Or an Israeli raid into a refugee camp being described as 'cold-blooded killing'?
This different semantic treatment for the Palestinians and Israelis produced some odd results.
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Format: Paperback
Many people criticize the news coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is easy to suggest that news coverage of this contentious issue is biased, but it is significantly more difficult to clearly articulate one's objections. Most criticisms in the form of letters-to-the-editor, or letters to the journalists are of limited use because they refer to selected news items; although this criticism may be acknowledged by editors, they are mostly ignored. To exert pressure on news organizations so that they will take notice, it is necessary to go beyond the piecemeal critique. What is necessary is a broader behavioral critique and understanding of news coverage, and how that affects the understanding of an issue by a large segment of the population. Such a critique cannot be ignored by a news organization, and it will likely be more effective in eliciting a corrective response. It is for this reason that Philo and Berry's Bad News from Israel is an important book.

The book is divided into three parts. The first section is an historical overview of the Israel-Palestine conflict. It is a very well written and researched general overview of the history of the region; ideally, one would hope that the news coverage should make an audience aware of this history. The discussion of the history of the region sets the stage for the second section of the book, a "content analysis" of news coverage. Here the authors document general patterns arising in the coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The authors have taken a large body of news media output, mostly British TV news, and sought to classify broad patterns of exhibited bias.
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Format: Paperback
It is disturbing to discover that the British nation (and undoubtedly others too) has been continuously and consistently deceived by our respected media in its reporting from Israel and Palestine.
Greg Philo's well-researched and eloquent study reveals that for decades we have been denied the truth and that a deeply flawed perspective on the conflict has been provided.
The justice of the Palestinian cause has been denied a proper explanation; the war-crimes of the Israeli occupiers have been concealed and the sufferings of the poor and the oppressed have not been reported accurately, if at all.
I urge all those interested in learning the truth about Palestine and in confronting the bias of the media to read this book.
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Format: Paperback
This is a book that comes highly recommended. The veteran investigative journalist John Pilger has praised its authors as "pioneers in their field" and insisted that "every journalist should read this book; every student of journalism ought to be assigned it" (New Statesman, 28 June 2004).
In a remarkable and scientific study of the manner in which the main UK terrestrial news broadcasters (BBC and ITV) cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Professor Greg Philo and Dr Mike Berry of the Glasgow University Media Group, have detailed how that news coverage almost always tends to promote the Israeli perspective while ensuring that viewers remain ignorant of the actual causes that lie behind that long-running tragedy.
To compile their data, the authors brought journalists, academics and ordinary viewers together to study the influence of news on public understanding. More than 800 people were interviewed and researchers examined around 200 news bulletins.
According to the authors, television news is the main source of information on the Israel-Palestine conflict for about 80% of the population. Their research found that on British television, particularly on BBC1, there was a preponderence of official 'Israeli perspectives'. Israelis were interviewed or reported more than twice as much as Palestinians. There were also a large number of statements broadcast from US politicians who tended to strongly support Israel. These in turn were interviewed twice as much as politicians from Britain, with the strange result being that many British viewers will perhaps know more about the US position in the Middle East than their own government's position.
The most important of omissions the authors found was the almost total lack of context and history in the reporting.
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