Covering death in conflicts: Coverage of the second intifada on Israeli and palestinian television

Gadi Wolfsfeld*, Paul Frosh, Maurice T. Awabdy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations

Abstract

This exploratory study attempts to explain how journalistic routines for covering violent conflict lead to the construction of ethnocentric news. A distinction is made between two sets of routines. One set is permanent and ensures ethnocentric control over the flow of information, while a second set varies as journalists construct coherent narratives for particular events. This latter set of routines is further broken down into what are labeled the 'Victims Mode' and 'Defensive Mode' of reporting. The Victims Mode is used when one's own citizens have suffered an especially tragic loss of life, while the Defensive Mode is employed when one's forces have carried out an attack that has inflicted a similar loss on the enemy. It is argued that each of these modes of reporting parallels psychological reactions that have been found in individuals. The ideas raised in the theoretical discussion are investigated by comparing coverage of two events by Israeli and Palestinian television. Two events were chosen for analysis: a Palestinian suicide bombing that killed 19 Israelis, and the killing of Hamas leader Sheik Salach Shehadeh in which 16 Palestinians were killed. An in-depth reading of the six news broadcasts provides important insights into how journalists' routines ensure a steady flow of culturally acceptable news stories that reinforce hatred between enemies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)401-417
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Volume45
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2008

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