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Contested Truths - A monopoly of voice?

By: Johannes Wahlström

1. Introduction

As we proceed into the new millennium we are bombarded with a constantly growing flow of information. Some even go so far as calling this the age of information. Let us for a moment postulate an equal sign between knowledge and information, where the flow of information and its control subsequently becomes the single most important aspect of democracy (as it presupposes an informed population). Modern man does not get most of his knowledge about his surroundings and the world he lives in through empiricism, but he does so through other channels, most often through second (3rd, 4th…) hand information. More and more we have to rely upon other people and institutions on telling us what and why things are occurring, subsequently pre-digesting a large part of our knowledge.

The largest transmitter of information in our days is the mass media. Here a fraction of a percent of the (western) world population decides what the rest of the world is to know (and not to know). Most news media legitimate themselves and their presentations through a claim of objectivity. But can unadulterated objectivity exist at all? Here an eyebrow is raised, as there seems to be at least a possibility that things are not the way they ought to be. If this seemingly alarming premonition is enough for a further examination, I urge my fellow reader to consider the following questions; Does mass media portray the world we live in following certain discourses, and in that case what do they consist of? What affects the general line of portrayal in different contexts? Are people influenced by what is said in the media? How? It would hereby be of value to consider the relationship between the Media, the people, and power in search for interrelationships.

As a point of departure in clarifying the media situation, this paper will focus on the conflict in the Middle East. Foremost there will be a comparative examination on how various media (newspapers and television-news) in Sweden, Israel and the US portray the situation, to see if a pattern of positioning can be seen. The analysis will further try to point at the relationship between media portrayal and public opinion (i.e. with help of polls). Finally this paper will explore any disparity of political decisions with the public and media.

2. Media Studies -A Historical Perspective

As people started communicating media took its first shape. With technical and social evolution the medium has constantly changed its face and form. From oral, to written, proceeding to printed and airborne (electronic), media’s purpose has been for the transmitter to bestow a knowledge/information/view upon the receiver. In accordance with Jan Sjökvist, oral communication and oral media limited the size of a group due to the extensions of face-to-face interactions (Sjökvist 1991:101). The transmitter(s) of information (usually the chief or elderly) had to have direct contact with the people in order for the group to have a common conception of reality. As society evolved, written language made it possible for ”explicit cultural legitimisation” (ibid. 1991:102), thus ensuing a centralisation of responsibility and power (i.e. through religion) where the social systems control the cultural ones. Modern society, with its use of printing, further developed distribution of information on a larger scale, fostering uniformity and synchronisation of the people with an creation of national identities (Anderson 1996:48). The revolutionary change in distribution of information between oral and modern society was not only in the form and spread of information. As the distance between speaker (transmitter) and listener (receiver) increased so did its ”egalitarian relationship” (see Olsen 1987:145-152) which makes it possible to engage in a genuine discussion.

The paradigms in media studies have changed numerous times during the past century. In the beginning of the 20th century the meta-theory of the effect of media was that of immense influence and strength. Social scientist supposed that if the content of media was violent, people would be affected in a violent way  (Strömbäck 2000:64). This perception lost ground as a series of test on the Vietnam war (ibid.) seemed to prove that media only transmitted information and could not change peoples opinions. Later studies have altered the meta-theory in the sense that the influence of media has grown. Media not only influenced people through what they said but also by its medium. They postulated a pacifying effect on the receivers that changed their entire cognitive capacity, and in accordance with McLuhan altered the ratio among the senses, changing their mental processes when the information was interiorised and habitualised (McLuhan 1964:43). The development of this new paradigm was not only due to a change of view but also due to the fact that media itself evolved and became of greater importance in people’s lives.

Later anthropological and sociological studies on media (i.e. Dornfeld 1998, Hannerz 1998) have focused on how the people behind media create their information as well as how it is transmitted, including the dimension of the people ”behind the news”. These studies have shown how journalists, reporters, researchers etc. become integrated into the social structure which they (re)produce.

3. The Middle East -A Case Study

If our obscure interest in war is a fetish or merely an obvious care for humanity is a question without a simple answer. What can be said is that news reporting, in order to reach certain reader/viewer/listener quotas have been resorted to a degree of sensationalism (see i.e. Haslam and Bryman 1994:190), where ”tasty” action has received a disproportionate amount of attention. Why some conflicts receive more attention than others can only be connected to the degree it interest us, being how close the situation is to our heart. This is of course a very circular answer, but will be treated with greater analytical attention further on.

 3.1 Background

The Middle East conflict has been one of those conflicts that has received great attention in the western world. Politicians all over the world have taken sides, and people (in the west) have more opinions about this conflict than many others, where for example Americans see the region as being the only one in the world where American interest and involvement are of ”vital importance” (Gallup poll: Further on it is interesting to point out that different countries have taken different sides in the conflict since 1948 and earlier. People have had varying opinions based on where in the world they live, and what cultural, ethnic and national identity they have. The question is how, and foremost why?

In the Zionist state of Israel the ”free” media coverage of the crisis between the state and the Palestinians tends as well as its people (in accordance with democracy) to be rather defending of the state actions as shall be seen in the following text. The ”Arab World”, as could be seen in massive demonstrations across the Middle East and Northern Africa, strictly support the Palestinians. American coverage and its people tend to support Israel (Gallup poll: Whereas Sweden, with its long history of neutrality has tended to lay its support on the Palestinian side, with for example Prime-minister Palme. I must before proceeding point out that the aim of this study is not to prove what is the objective truth (if there is at all such a thing) or who is right or wrong. I intend on the contrary to show how different truths contest against each other and are assimilated by the people.

In the comparison between media coverage of the Middle East conflict, with a focus on America, Israel and Sweden, there at first glance seems to be a missing denominator; namely Palestinian or ”Arab” media. Since we live in the Western world, we have to abide by it’s standards, with public discourse and general opinions. It seems to be so that we (in the West) tend to have a strong prejudice against the ”Arab World”, as well as its media. If I in this study would have made a comparison between Israeli and Palestinian media coverage and found a clear difference in the portrayal of the conflict, it would be easy to, in accordance with modern discourse, discard the Palestinian perspective as propaganda and lies spread by Muslim fundamentalists. It is exactly this bias that makes this study relevant, as a disparity within the ”Western democratic World” can be so profound as shall be shown.

In the end of September 2000, Likud party leader Ariel Sharon (also former military commander who is claimed responsible for the slaughter of thousands of Palestinians), accompanied by a small army of police, marched in to one of the holiest Muslim sanctuaries in the world, claiming its right to the Jewish people. This provocation sparked massive riots and a beginning of the new Intifada, an uprising. Obviously the Palestinian rebellion, resulting in a massive loss of lives, did not merely depend upon this provocation. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has its roots in a history of over half a century (some would even say millennia) and must be regarded in its full context.

3.2 Media Portrayal

One could say that it is obvious that media in a country at war, would portray their own side and people as the ”good guys”, and the opposing side as the perpetrators and ”bad guys”. The dichotomy would be, in accordance with Strauss, necessary for upholding the nation and loyalty of the people. So far so good. The paradox appears as mass media in modern democracy is supposed to be objective, which is their main legitimisation in order to sustain public confidence (Sorlin 1994:72).

As I have already implicated Israeli press tends in general to be very pro-Israeli, which can be seen in the following example as we compare different coverage. On the 18th of October 2000 the Israeli Defence Forces (I will in the following text refer to them as IDF) reported on how a settlement on the West-Bank was charged by a mob of 150 Palestinians equipped with axes and knives ( 18/10). Two settlers, in self defence, fired at the ground in an attempt to scare them away and accidentally killed one and injured five. It is interesting to point out that the IDF is not only a military organ in Israel, but also a social one that controls the two major public radio stations. They are also a major source in the coverage of Israeli media. The settlers who were arrested an hour after the shooting were suspected of murder by the police. Ha’aretz, being the most respectable newspaper in the country[1][1] followed the military line although slightly softer and claimed the killing of the Palestinian could have been retaliation for the destruction of Joseph’s tomb[2][2]. CNN and TIME also followed the military line, the only difference being that they reported that the Palestinians where farmers harvesting their olives. The BBC (News 18/10) as well as DN (Dagens Nyheter) on the other hand reported on how armed settlers attacked and murdered Palestinian peasants who where harvesting olives (Shachar 18/10). As a parenthesis it could be added that on the 24th of October the settlers where released by Israeli court due to a ”lack of evidence”.

This example is just one of many. Most often the difference between the coverage from various press is noticed in their careful choice of words and details, as well as what receives more attention. The second of October Ha’aretz reported on the murder of an Israeli border guard, Yossi Tabjeh, 27 (the description of him and his family proceeds an entire page). The report continues on Palestinian stone throwing, where ”one of the victims of a large stone was district police chief Yair Yitzhaki, who lost consciousness and was evacuated” (Harel 2/10). CNN (World Report 2/10) on this day reports on injured Israeli soldiers, while DN (Shachar 2/10) focuses on how the IDF launched helicopter attacks on civilian Palestinians, firing anti-tank missiles (resulting in a number of casualties). The 13th of October two Israeli soldiers were killed in Nablus, Israeli media cabled the news as immense headlines where the YA wrote about the ”tomb of blood” and made this into a three page story. Also Ha’aretz and the CNN made a great deal out of this, with statements such as; ”you cant make peace with Satan’s children” (Ha’aretz 13/10) and ”brutal murder” (World Report 13/10). The story was clearly mentioned in Swedish press but focused more on Israeli ”retaliatory” helicopter attacks on Nablus (Shachar 13/10; Edvardson 13/10). Are these reports even on the same conflict?

Another example of the disparity of attention can be seen in an incident on the 9th of November when the Israeli Ha’aretz (Arbeli 9/11) and The JP (Jerusalem Post) wrote on a ”terror murder” of a Jewish border worker in Gaza, continuing a several page report on her life and the monstrosity of the Palestinian attack. As a footnote both of the papers added (on the last page) that the death toll in Gaza also included four Palestinians. The BBC, DN, SVD (Svenska Dagbladet) and Metro retold the order absolutely vice-versa, focusing on the death of the Palestinians. CNN differed from the above by placing the killing of the Israeli in the same proportion, receiving the same amount of focus as seven Palestinian victims on the same day. On the 14th of November another incident of killing of Israelis came to the headlines. The JP and Ha’aretz (Harel 14/11) repeated their former line by reporting several pages on two civilians and two soldiers killed by Palestinian terrorists. Here again it was merely added that three Palestinians were also killed. DN’s (Nathan Shachar) as well as (Cordelia Edvardson) SVD’s correspondents put the killings in relation to each other adding that the civilians where indeed settlers (having more weapons than the Palestinians), who are perceived as the corner stone of the occupation force. They continued with the fact that, as a result, the Israeli military had sealed off all West Bank towns (practically imprisoning the population). The CNN (World Report 14/11) on the other hand focused on the Israeli casualties, but the main bias could be seen as the same report included earlier statements from Barak and Arafat. Barak ”called for a long-term peace with the Palestinians” while Arafat said ”that the Palestinians would not give up their fight to evict Israeli troops from Palestinian-held territories”. In this report it clearly seems as though the Palestinians are indeed biting the stretched out hand of peace. It is not odd to find that major news corporations report on more or less the same stories, it is however interesting to see how much freedom they have to pursue their own perspectives. In the same incident the BBC reported on the killings, but also focused on the Israeli blockades of Palestinian towns.

Before proceeding I would like to point out that national media is not entirely monotone and identical. Compared to each other Israeli newspapers can indeed be different. As for example two articles on the 21st of December in The JP and Ha’aretz, where even the headings reveal the differing positions of the papers. The JP heading was as follows: 4 Palestinians die in Gaza clashes; Israeli stabbed near capital (Dudkevitch 21/12), and Ha’aretz: Four Palestinians killed in Gaza Strip shootings (Harel 21/12). Further, Ha’aretz reveals that two of the killed Palestinians were fire-fighters, who’s killing, the IDF called a ”tragic error”. The JP on the other hand says that the killed were ”members of the Palestinian Civil Defence force”, mentioning no error what so ever. Despite of these differences one can say that there is still a common vantage point within national media.

It seems to be rather popular nowadays to talk about misconceptions and deceptions of media portrayal. As long as it is someone else’s media. The JP had an article on the 9th of November on ”The Media’s Propaganda war” by Daniel Doron (9/11). Here the author states that the CNN and BBC are ”actively engaged in a propaganda war designed to delegitimise Israel”. Every time any of the news channels mentions killed Palestinians, and in some way differs in the reports made by Israeli press, the author of the article claims that this is due to anti-Semitism and Arab propaganda. Where the article fails in showing the stand of western media, it succeeds in showing the opinion and position of the Israeli press. Contrary to this, a survey on the 24th of October, by the international Zionist organisation The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), shows that ”editorials in U.S. newspapers overwhelmingly support Israel in latest rounds of Mideast clashes” (ADL: I must firmly point out that ADL is considered as wholly pro Israeli. It had for example, a full page advertisement in Ha’aretz on the 16th of October saying ”Israel we are with you” and condemning the Palestinians. What this report shows however, despite of its obvious bias, is indeed what it says, namely that American newspapers tend to be pro-Israeli. As goes for propaganda, the report from JP is much more understandable, since it believes that the Israeli perspective is the correct one, and that all opposing ones are merely discrediting Israel. The survey by ADL shows that even these radical pro-Israelis believe that the Israeli vantage point is fairly shared and portrayed by American press.

3.3 Opinions

As the violence in the Middle East escalates, so does the public opinion of the conflict. More and more Israelis feel that one should be harder on the Palestinians and that their leniency has been the source of the conflict. Likud, the right-wing party, is gaining ground in opinion polls on the premise that the military should show less restraint with Palestinians (Verter 20/12). In the US a recent Gallup poll (13th-14th of October 2000) shows that 41% of the population supports Israel whereas approximately 11% support the Palestinians, the rest have no greater opinion. Further, the poll reveals that ”Americans who follow the situation more closely are more likely than average to come down on the side of the Israelis” (Gallup poll: Swedish opinion and positioning in the conflict has become less intense since its climax during Palme. Those Swedes who are at all engaged in the conflict, tend historically to position themselves on the Palestinian side, where organisations such as ”Palestinagrupperna” have had a large public support. In the ongoing conflict the general public tends to be supportive of the Palestinians (see Persons ord får kritik DN 14/10).

3.4 Politics

It is perhaps not even necessary to point out where in the conflict the Israeli state positions itself, but to clarify the situation it should not only be in black and white. The Israeli government does, however, portray the Palestinians as the perpetrators where the leadership does not fulfil its bargains in the peace-process, has no control over its population and is, very simplistically put; the villain. On the 20th of November, Israeli government’s public affairs co-ordinator, Nahman Shai, released a ”White Book” presenting the Palestinians and Yasser Arafat as ”systematic violators of agreements signed with Israel, and as a leader who never abandoned terror as a means to reach his policy goals” (Verter 21/11). Ha’aretz described this book as ”part of a world-wide propaganda campaign” (Ibid.). Obviously there are fractions in the Knesset that do not support the militaristic line of the government, but these are for the moment in minority and have no greater voice. On the contrary the condemnation of Palestinians is hardening as the Likud party with Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu is gaining ground, forcing the ruling Labour Party to adopt more rightwing actions.

The US seems to have taken an official line of neutrality towards the Middle East conflict, but as we shall see, this is in fact not the case. In the beginning of October (SVD- TT 3/10) the United Nations General Assembly attempted to condemn Israel for the use of ”extensive violence” against civilians. All countries in the assembly had signed the impeachment, but the United States vetoed it. Later, a condemnation was passed (UN resolution 1322), on an American premise that Israel would not be directly accused or pointed out. On the 14th of October US Minister of Foreign Affairs, Madeleine Albright accused the Palestinians for placing Israel ”under siege” (Carlbom 14/10). Further on, as the violence during October escalated, with a growing death toll on the Palestinian side, the Palestinian leadership demanded an independent UN team to review the violence. The American as well as Israeli leaderships rejected this and proposed that a team lead by the American CIA should do the investigations (meeting in Paris 4/10). In case the US acts as a neutral part in the peace-process, we should further ask ourselves why American subjectivity is so rooted in the perceptions of Palestinian supporters in the Arab-World?

As has already been stated, Sweden has had a long history of supporting Palestinians in the conflict. In a study by the Swedish Foreign Affairs Department, it is stated how the Swedish government positions itself in the conflict. In accordance with UN resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the Swedish government supports a Palestinian self-rule and a withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories of 1967, as well as a condemnation of the Israeli annexation of Jerusalem (Regeringskansliet 1999:24). During the past few years the Swedish line has become more lenient towards Israel as it, according to the study, ought not to deviate from that of the European Union (Ibid.). In an interview in Dagens Nyheter with Hans Dahlgren, Swedish Cabinet Secretary, it is stated that due to Sweden’s expected chairmanship in the EU, Sweden cannot condemn Israel (DN 25/10). Earlier Prime Minister Göran Persson (10/10) had already expressed his sympathy for Barak and his actions, Leading to a massive critique of the prime minister, who replied that he cannot condemn Israel merely to satisfy the Swedish public opinion (Quoted in DN 13/10). Despite of these statements, the Swedish Foreign Affairs Department, with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anna Lindh, in the lead, expressed a condemnation of Israeli actions.

3.5 Summary of the Study

As a very simplistic portrayal of the situation we could posit a rough division of Israeli contra Palestinian support. In general Israeli politics, people and media portray and see the Palestinians as the antagonists. One must accentuate, however, that this is very general, and that there of course exist differing opinions in all camps. The same goes for American politics and media, as well as a majority of the population that have an opinion at all. In Sweden the situation is reversed, where the press and people tend to take the Palestinian side (see i.e. Dominique 1998:4). The Swedish government has however become less condemning of Israel, despite of its official line.

Before attempting to answer why this disparity occurs, one must point out that all three of these countries (Israel, the US and Sweden) are considered to be democratic nations with a free press and a freedom of speech. In the beginning of this text I claimed that I would not attempt to find an objective truth, for this is exactly where the problem is. In order for media to be trustworthy it presents its coverage as objective and truthful. But as we see, various media portray their truths in sometimes completely contrary ways. It is hereby of utter importance to examine what can be the cause of this. What, in other words, affects media’s coverage and portrayal in a given situation?

4. Producing Media -Contested Truths

The intention of the preceding study was to question the objectivity of media, and to point a finger on its influence on people. According to the liberalist ideology, the freedom of choice and a diversity of various autonomous media will lead to a diverse spectrum of views and information. (Sorlin 1994:30) This is to a greater or lesser extent the ruling paradigm in most of the western democratic world. There are, however, flaws in this perspective, where the control of media becomes increasingly concentrated, and their portrayals become more and more homogenous. Among other things, the constant need for media to please their sponsors and reach larger audience has, as will be shown further down, a devastating effect on the contents of the projected material.

4.1 Channelling Information

Mae West used to say that is better to be looked over that overlooked. Looking over however, gives a distorted picture of reality. We can no longer follow the path of Geertz (Geertz 1973), and believe that we can interpret cultures and situations as texts. As I have attempted to show, objectivity does not exist in the world of media, and it hereby becomes interesting to see what biases and what sort of selectivity lays as a base in the channelling of information to the public.

In order to avoid strong conspiracy theories on conscious media manipulation for the moment, we shall look to what factors can indeed change the contents and portrayal of news. There is a general aversion against the idea that media tells us what to think. It does, however, clearly tell us what to think of (see i.e. Sorlin 1994:94). Or as Wittgenstein put it, ”what we cannot think, we cannot think; we cannot therefore say what we cannot think”. The parallel with Orwell’s 1984 is not to be dismissed where the language newspeak clearly limited what people could think of. Of course this is drawing the comparison to the extreme, since we may think of what we please. Media however, decides what is important to think of. This is known as media selectivity (Ussher 1994:127), where the press works as a gatekeeper (see i.e. Bourdieu 1998:68), filtering all information through the ”correct” journalistic discourse and the general view of the paper or channel (ibid. 1998:71). This bias in reporting is based on two factors. The first one being, what will receive greater audience, and the second, what it is acceptable to say in accordance to the ruling paradigm (Strömbäck 2000:154). When considering audience figures, news reporting is influenced by sensationalism, as to beat the competitors and have a story being ”newsworthy” (Haslam and Bryman 1994:190). This means that different newspapers eagerly join in on each others stories and scoops, as not to disappoint their readers (listeners/viewers). Competition, according to Bourdieu, hereby tends to ”homogenise the supply of information” (Bourdieu 1998:104)

By bearing in mind the mentioned obstacles for ”objective reporting”, it should be added that ”mass media content is a socially created product, not a reflection of an objective reality” (Strömbäck 2000:156). The fact that media reporting is always intended for a public; makes news coverage the more circular. Political correctness or public discourse, call it what you please, forces media companies to be careful with what they report, and bear in mind that it is easier to transmit what people want to receive. Here our social and cultural bias comes into focus, when it is said that what is in one country perceived as news and truth, can often be seen as sheer propaganda in another country[3][3]. Take for example the increasingly popular Hollywood movies, which help Americans maintain a sense of nationalism (see Billig 1995:150). Despite their popularity, we (in the rest of the world) cannot appreciate these films in their fullest cultural contexts, namely as a sense of personal and social reinforcement.

4.2 The Reporter

When discussing media portrayal, we are caught in our own use of words. Foremost, the concept of media is a great abstraction, as it is the description of a large interrelated network of people working to produce and disseminate information. Hereby one must take a look at the people involved in the production of news, and how they can affect it.

The above mentioned reasons for media subjectivity could be categorised as somewhat unintentional. There exists however, less ethical manipulations of media (although perhaps not intentionally harmful), where distortion (mainly a habit of the tabloid press) and omission of detail plays a greater role (Haslam and Bryman 1994:191). The journalist often has to remove some details in order to make a story more reader-friendly. As the journalists are schooled into a pre-existing system of news reporting they also deal with a certain amount of self-censorship (perhaps even unknowingly), where he/she acts and reports on what is approved of by the editors. As the disagreements are solved through authority and hierarchy (Dornfeld 1998:81), the reporters do what they must to earn a living and not be omitted entirely.

In our days, the phrase ”socially competent” has become of greater importance in the employment of staff. A new competition for IQ, the EQ has been developed, and it seems obvious that reporters, who’s jobs consist of dealing with, and examining the world and its people, must have a degree of ”social competence”. But what does this mean? Is a socially competent person someone who can handle and communicate freely with people? someone who is not too stubborn and bends softly in the wind? Perhaps. But social competence is also ”obedience, flock-mentality and a trust in those in power” (See Palmaer 2000). With the use of this definition, most dictatorships have required socially competent collaborators, and it is not for nothing that I mention that the chiefs of staff want their reporters to be ”socially competent” and work smoothly in the machinery (I will deal with the hierarchy of media corporations further down). In all honesty, who wants a reporter who doesn’t (want to) fit in with the general line of the company?

One must further on remember that reporters are people like anyone else, they can be fooled, cheated and manipulated like any other person. Nor are reporters flawless, which could be seen by their deception during the Kosvo crisis by Nato, where Western media eagerly swallowed Nato’s exaggerations and lies about the ongoing war[4][4]. In this situation, as in any other, mass media had to rely upon a varying degree of credible sources for its coverage. As the director of the Institute for Media Analysis, Edward Herman, puts it, ”information from sources that may be presumed credible…reduce investigative expenses, whereas material from sources that are not seemingly credible, or that will elicit criticism and threats, require careful and costly checking” (Herman 1990:81). Nato and American government were in the eyes of western media, during this situation seen as more credible than Yugoslav sources (Russian media perceived it the other way around), and therefore relied upon them. Reporters are furthermore, despite their schooling loaded with bias, meaning that they (choose to) see some things and not others.

A clear example of reporter subjectivity can be seen in Phillip Knightley’s (1989) First Casualty. Here Emerson Neilly a reporter for the Pall Mall Gazette on the war in Transvaal, depicted how adolescents who were defending a Boer trench had been bayoneted by British soldiers. While admitting that this was a horrible slaughter, he could not help adding that ”if any shame attaches to the killing of the youngsters it must rest on the fathers of those who brought them there” (Knightley 1989:73-74). This can only be seen as a complete incapacity to think beyond the logic of ones own country. And as Sorlin put it, an ”unquestionable rectitude” (Sorlin 1994:136).

The anthropological discussion of emic contra etic perspectives is of importance in journalistic coverage, and perhaps even more so in the case of the Middle East. Before any coverage can take place, a person who is to work as a corespondent needs to be found. The fact that Europe and the US has had a large population of Jews, has rendered them more applicable than average for this job. Ulf Hannerz (1998), in the article Reporting from Jerusalem, makes a distinction between ”expatriate” and ”immigrant” corespondents, where the immigrants tend to be Israelis representing the emic perspective of the situation, whilst the expatriates are more in contact with the audience and their interests (ibid. 1998:551). It should be added that immigrant reporters are much cheaper than their expatriate colleagues, meaning that they are more often chosen (ibid. 1998:553). Returning to the discussion of emic/etic, it could be said that anthropological discourse tends to prioritise the emic view as it gives a clearer description of the situation and how people experience it. I must however note that an Israeli coverage of the Middle East (as well as a Russian coverage of the Caucasian conflict), is not the emic perspective of the situation, it is rather, an ethnocentric one. The absence of autonomous Palestinian sources and reporters makes the coverage of this conflict more one-sided. Hannerz continues by mentioning that most of the correspondents stationed in Jerusalem do not even speak Arabic (ibid. 1998:566), thereby violating the primal rule of the emic coverage by not even understanding the language of half of the part in question. It can of course, in accordance with the liberal ideology, be argued that journalists are well trained and professional and do therefore not let their own opinions conceal the truth. Besides, the ethnical background of a reporter doesn’t necessarily colour the person’s opinions. What can be said is that reporters indeed can have an influence on the dissemination of news, depending on how they portray it, but it must also be remembered that they are part of a larger structure (as for example: media corporation, schooling, society).

4.3 A Monopoly of Voice

One of the greater dangers of media is that which took, and still takes place, in totalitarian regimes, being the loss of alternative opinions. When all media sing one thing in one voice and show only one position, there can be no talk of discussion or a manifold of view. But surely this only takes place in totalitarian regimes, not in our democratic society? Lord Beaverbrook, the proprietor of Daily Express and one of the most influential tycoons of the inter-war period, confessed very frankly that his purpose in running a paper was not to increase his profits, but ”to disseminate his ideas” (Sorlin 1994:110). Profit, can here in accordance with Weber’s definition, be seen as a profit in the interest of the tycoon, where the main goal is to dominate the world of information. Should we trust that the media magnates are altruistic and good-hearted people only because they say so? Ought this be enough to venture our faith and possibility to destine our own lives?

There are two contending paradigms of mass communication studies. One is, according to Mark Schulman, called ”the structural-functionalist social science of mainstream communication studies, while the second uses a critical or social class-based foundation for analysis, influenced by Marxism” (Schulman 1990:114). The structural- functionalist approach can also be fitted within the traditions of the liberal-pluralist research, meaning that they believe that through a freedom of choice and a ”free press”, information flows freely and unabridged. Believing that Western media may not be perfect, but as good as it gets. In this study I would however like to be a little more creative, as well as questioning the ruling paradigm, and therefore accentuate the problems of Western media. Hereby, we are encountered by the Marxist view of media, which stresses their ideological function that contributes to maintaining pubic consent. Media are according to this view concentrated in the hands of a small number of people, whose ideas are widely disseminated to shape peoples minds. Here the ownership of the means of communication, economic power and class domination are closely connected and condition each other (see i.e. Sorlin 1994:118). It is further claimed that through for example economical dependence, media has a function to convince those who use them (believe, buy, conform), and are hereby ideological tools ”paid and manipulated by the ruling class in order to reproduce and perpetuate the system which produced them” (Sorlin 1994:90). However, Ideology, it should be stressed, is not the same as propaganda as it is not a conscious occurrence.

With the era of globalisation, multinational corporations are mushrooming, merging and growing beyond epic proportions. As do media enterprises. The Time-Warner corporation, being one of the largest of its kind, owns an immense amount of newspapers and television channels, where the CNN is one of its most notorious pearls. The oligopolisation of media results in a decrease of alternatives, and opinions and voices are monopolised as they lack a counterbalance. When many small papers observe each other and cover mainly the same topics, with the same sources, it could be considered as dangerous, it is however nothing compared to the consequence of multinational corporations doing the same thing.

As news is claimed to be objective and truthful, a discrepancy ensues when an opposing ”truth” appears. If press A says that X is the truth, and Press B says that Y is the truth, a conflict is bound to occur. The only way to legitimise one’s own ”truth” is by discrediting the opposing one. A good example can bee seen in the Middle East conflict, where the IDF systematically targeted and bombarded Palestinian radio and television broadcast as well as the press, under the premise that it was disseminating lies and propaganda (IDF 13/10:

5. Media and Influences

In the following section I will focus on two points. One being how media coverage is consciously influenced by various powerful organisations and enterprises, and the other, how the receivers of information are influenced by the media exposure. It would be utterly naive to think that media, which according to a recent study (Josefsson 2000), accounts for 11,5 hours of an average American’s day, does not influence people.

5.1 Pulling the Strings

When we read a book we consider its relevance in accordance to who wrote it and for what purpose: Likewise, it is of vital importance to consider who disseminates, produces and finances mass media and for what gain. Many people would dismiss various conspiracies as just that; conspiracies. Perhaps we should not be frightened by this, but still attempt to speculate about who can, and for what purpose, manipulate the outcome of mass medial information.

Let us first see how hierarchies and authoritative power is distributed in the sphere of media. At the top of a media corporation are the owners, below, the managers, and in a receding line various editors and journalists. The owners of a newspaper are those who decide whom to proclaim as president (el presidente) who in his turn chooses his vassal, the chief of staff (commander and fateful right-hand of el presidente), who in a hierarchical order appoints and keeps an eye on the various reporters (the deceitful peons). Barbro Hedwall (editorial writer, DN) confirms that certain owners indeed do interfere, and do so rather repeatedly, on who is to do what in the corporation. She also claims in an interview (Hedwall 12/10) that this strengthens the already existing idea of what should and should not be written. Through this clandestine, and sometimes entirely open influence, the owners of a media enterprise can indeed have their say on the output. Pierre Bourdieu (1998:28) supports the notion that owners of a media enterprise have political control through appointing chief directors. He further means that there is a political compliance due to unemployment among journalists.

As most of the press and ether-media in the Western world is financed through private sponsorship and commercials, it should be noted that those who contribute with this money can have a say in what is distributed. A recent study by Tomas Lappalainen (2000), journalist and media communications researcher, claims that right-wing liberal papers get more income from advertisements than their leftist competitors, despite the fact that they may have fewer readers. In Sweden this could be seen when SVD had larger revenues from adverts that its competitor DN (which is considered less right-wing) with nearly twice as many readers. Also the Daily Herald (a newspaper aimed at the working class), before it went into bankruptcy had five times as many readers as The Times, but only half as large advertisement revenues. Chief editor of the newspaper Stockholm News, Jon Åsberg, also confirms this disparity in an interview. He claims that the reason to why there is no leftist morning press in Stockholm is due to it’s ”incapacity to succeed on the market and get sponsorship” (Åsberg 12/10). It could be added that advertisements hold for approximately 75% of the revenue of an average newspaper and almost 100% of broadcasters (Herman 1990:80). There are probably many reasons for this inconsistency in advertising, resulting in 80% of Swedish morning press being liberal while the majority of the population is not (Lappalainen 2000:170). But the fact that there is such a political disproportion at all, is enough to reconsider the innocence and impartiality of the sponsors.

Political leaders also have a say in what mass media produces, be it through hints, censorship or economic sanctions, the output can indeed be altered. As an example, many communist papers have been banned in the United States, on the premise of being ”threats to the nation”. The same thing could be seen in the Soviet Union, but reversed, as well as Sweden where racist texts are illegal. What impels governments to take different standings is, however, a much to big a question to be tackled here.

Lobbyist organisations are often spoken of as an effective force in influencing those in power. Noam Chomsky (1998:17) tackles this question in the book Fateful Triangle, where he claims that ”no pressure group will dominate access to public opinion or maintain consistent influence over policy-making unless its aims are close to those of elite elements with real power”. This does obviously not mean that the influence of lobbyist organisations can be completely discarded, it does mean, however, that various elements of power support each other in the form that suits them. It can hereby be said that US government support of Israel, comes from the thesis that ”a powerful Israel is a strategic asset for the United States” (ibid. 1998:20). For those who this ”strategic asset” is indeed an asset (i.e. oil corporations, and those effected by oil prices), government policy is regarded as favourable, and may choose to be supportive of media that places these actions in a favourable light. Josefsson (2000) writes about a study by mass media scientist, Robert McChesney, Rich media, poor democracy, who describes the synergy-effects of media corporations. By this he means that the nine largest media corporations (owning a majority of global media industry), are all conglomerates, where small corporations support each other. The (in comparison) small corporations can be of different characters, where one can for example be an oil producer, the other a car producer, the third a movie corporation and a fourth a newspaper. One can imagine that it would be unwise for the newspaper editor to publish too much on environmental problems involving oil and cars. On the other hand the editor could be encouraged to give the movie corporation’s film a good critique.

Media corporations must not be conglomerates in order for them to have certain political and economical interests on a macro level. Posit yourselves the 1995 presidential elections in Russia, the first round of elections has rendered the ”democratic” candidate Yeltsin against ”communist” Ziuganov. This was the greatest democratic choice the Russian people (or any people for that matter) had been faced with, ever. A choice between a return to communism or a continuing on the road of capitalism. In the summer of 1999, while visiting Moscow, I stumbled on a television-program on the government channel the RTR. Here, the directors and star reporters of Russian television channels and newspapers were defending their portrayal of the elections. There had been a public notion that the election coverage had not been dealt with quite fairly by the media, and these people were now defending their actions. Completely astound I noticed that they did not deny the allegations, that they had portrayed Yeltsin as the best candidate, and Ziuganov as a deranged lunatic who would bring the country to civil-war. Now that communism was abandoned, media had become free, which was wonderful. In case communism would return, they said ”our media would loose its autonomy, so we were merely protecting our self-interests” (RTR 21/6 1999). The elections ended with a marginal victory in favour of the ”democratic” candidate.

5.2 Receiving Information

It could be said that there are as many ways of interpreting information as there are people. This does however not mean that certain patterns cannot be seen. What may influence people’s interpretations can be divided over a few points. On an personal level, people shape what they receive in accordance with what they have already received. This could be personal experiences, cultural heritage, involvement with other people, earlier media exposure etc. CNN accidentally made a good comment on this point in a commercial for the channel. It portrayed a Bedouin near the ancient Jordan city of Petra. He had lived sheltered from the modern world all of his life, with only sporadic contact with other people, he was ignorant and unknowing of anything better. Now that he got his hands on a television with access to the CNN, it revolutionised his life. The Bedouin became a better and more complete person, and the heading said; because ”you are what you know” (on the time of writing a running commercial on CNN). This slogan does indeed pinpoint the problem with the lack of discussion and alternative opinions in mass media.

While discussing how media influence people’s opinions and choices, there is a popular belief that the voice of media does not actually have such a great impact, and that all choices when it comes down to it are our own. Let us for a moment consider commercials. In 1986 approximately 2% of U.S. gross national product was spent on advertising (Kellner 1990:243), today’s figures are probably more than doubled. It would hereby be utterly naive to think that all this money is spent on nothing, that it gives no effect. Some would say that commercials only inform people of various goods that are already demanded for, but in our consumerist society, commercials seem to create needs rather than relief from them. In the same way that people are influenced in the desire of appropriating (buying) a good, they can be influenced in appropriation of opinions. In 1998, when Stockholm had applied for the summer Olympics of 2004, the low support among the inhabitants was seen as a great obstacle to being elected. The government and the Olympic Committee, then decided to launch a costly lobbying campaign, in order to ”create an opinion” among the people. A few months later there was a strong public support for the games. The scenario is reoccurring. According to Journalist Dan Josefsson, there seems to be a general idea among politicians that democracy means public support, so in order to gain this support one must persuade the people to vote the right way, by creating opinion (Josefsson 2000:22). This is precisely what commercials intend to do; to buy support. If people’s opinions can in this sense be ”bought”, either through commercials or political lobbying, we must indeed re-evaluate the modern concept of democracy.

Mass communication has with its evolution and growth been able to reach an immensely larger population than ever before. Through it’s effect on people, mass media has according to McLuhan been able to turn the psyche and society into a single echo chamber (McLuhan 1967:299). This could be seen in Orson Welles’ radio broadcast about an invasion from mars (incidentally a lot of people believed it was true), or Hitler’s propaganda speeches. The force of mass media is here imminent as it has the power to retribalise mankind in a reversal of individualism into collectivism (ibid.). The modern popularity of individualism and it’s absurdity is well portrayed by Monty Python in Life of Brian. Brian preaches before a huge crowd, he tells them that they do not need a leader; -”you are all individuals!”. And in one voice they reply, -”yes, we are all individuals! tell us more!”. In our case Brian is conceptualised by mass media enterprises, who all claim that we are free individuals and have the right to choose whatever we please (as long as we chose that which there is a demand for, otherwise we are marginalised), but the choice makes no difference (Coca-Cola or Pepsi, Democrats or Republicans). As we are all supposed to be different, we become identical by the difference. It hereby seems as though radical individualism and collectivism are indeed closely related. In other worlds, we are influenced much the same as in totalitarian regimes, the only difference being that it is much more unnoticed (and less centralised). The famous Czech author Zdener Urbanak commented on this in the 1970s, by saying that in totalitarian societies people have developed a skill of reading between the lines, while in the West people lack that capacity because they do not think they need it. But, he meant, they do, because illusions are more effective than censorship.

As I have stated earlier, sensationalism and competition of western media has a tendency to render it rather homogenous. This can lead to the fact that mass media can have a disproportionate and cataclysmic effect on public opinion. Bourdieu (1998:89) tells us of how a local newspaper reported on the murder of a girl in France. The competing newspapers soon joint in on the coverage and blew it immensely out of proportions as they competed over audience. As the story escalated, the people became strongly involved and started urging for revenge, leading to a reinforcement and re-implementation of lifetime sentences. In this example the newspapers proved their power, their ideology. Ideology is here, in accordance with Sorlin (1994:94), defined to the fact that everybody is obliged to hear about the murder (war etc.) and therefore believe it is vital. Merely because there exist many competing newspapers does not mean that they express competing ideas, on the contrary, they tend not to, leading to a homogenisation of opinion.

”Opinions necessitate democracy, as well as democracy necessitates opinions; these are two sides of the same coin”-Herbert Tingsten (former chief editor, DN). It is in our days wholly admitted in editorial offices that the purpose of newspapers is not merely to convey information or express opinions, it is to create them. Messages, in accordance with Sorlin, ”do not reproduce elements of the world, rather, they produce them” (Sorlin 1994:25). What I am getting to is that the role of media as producer of opinions, does indeed produce opinions, but not as diverse as could be expected. Furthermore, a study by George Gerbner shows that ”heavy viewers are substantially more likely to label themselves as being ”moderate” rather than either ”liberal” or conservative” (Gerbner 1994:31). This could be explained by the fact that mass media try to reach as broad an audience as possible and not repel people of differing views.

When people build their opinions about various situations, they use what they already have in their luggage to define their positions. As I have already stated, a person’s luggage can consist of everything from past experiences to cultural and social milieu. What I am trying to show is how past media experiences can add to the connotations of contemporary situations. In Covering Islam, Edward Said (1997) shows how the ethnocentric conception of orientalism from the time of British imperialism has prevailed and been reinforced. He shows how American media have depicted the Arab World as irrational and obfuscating since the 1970s; as Islam. Said continues that Islam entered the consciousness of most Americans because it has been connected to newsworthy issues like oil, Iran and Afghanistan, or terrorism. All that Muslims ever did (including Palestinian’s fight for independence) in the picture of American media was, according to the author, equated with Islam. And since Islam has become the personification of everything American values disapprove of, it has for some reason since the end of the Cold War come to represent ”America’s major foreign devil” (ibid. 1997:7). Considering that mass media and their immense technological advances have, according to Sorlin (1994:45), opened distant places for people that they would otherwise ignore, the picture portrayed by media has had a stronger effect on the perception of these areas. Here again, differing economical, political and ideological interests have played a massive role in the unfolding of the dichotomy between Islam and The West. It should, however, be noted that this opposition is not as imminent in Europe as in America, due to the fact that Europe has a closer encounter with the Muslim World (Said 1997), both on a personal and governmental level. The perceived opposition between Islam and the West can be seen in Samuel Huntington’s (1998) highly irrational, yet celebrated article The Clash of Civilizations?, where he in a prediction of the future, postulates a dangerous conflict between the West and Islam.

It is often said that media is a mirror of the world, and that all its distortions are due to our cultural and national bias. Well perhaps this cannot be entirely discarded, as there seems to be a relationship with how we view the world and how our media projects it. Surely this is a question of the chicken and the egg, but it can be seen how mass media, and in particular popular media reinforce public misconceptions and stereotypes. An example is the Hollywood movie industry which constantly depicts Muslim fundamentalists as villains (during the Cold War this role was efficiently filled by the communist threat). Billig (1995:152) depicts how during the Gulf War, American wrestling pantomime paralleled the war. ”Sergeant Slaughter” carrying the Iraqi flag, faced ”Hulk Hogan” waving the stars and stripes. ”Never before could have Good and Evil been so clearly signified in a wrestling ring”. The gangster is, according to Sorlin (1994:93), ”an ideological fabrication, where the public identifies an ascribed personality of the gangster in films and stories to a contemporary situation”. News coverage cannot alone be responsible for the general American hatred of communists (communism) or their aversion towards Muslims (Islam).

5.3 Alternative Media and Democracy

The question of alternative media is whether it is an alternative or merely Alternative (underground, odd, alienated). As the public choice in the major media channels is diminishing and alternative voices more seldom get a say, the opening for a public debate looses its place. The best way of holding an argument is by fighting contra-arguments. When the contra-arguments get less attention in the public debate and is indeed marginalised, people with disparate opinions seek to make themselves heard on other arenas. Those who happen to hear these deviant voices, which have not been given room in the public discussion of mass media, tend to have less power withstanding them, or relying more upon them than otherwise. The consequence of which can be the contrary of what is desired, with growing opposition and extremist groups, such as neo-nazis etc. The situation can be compared to that of Eastern European states during their communist era. In Poland, Tomas Gerholm (1993:141,143) writes, the opposition had no control over public media, which meant that there was no room for an open. In turn this lead to the fact that the ”Underground” press became more trusted than its official rival. Of course, you may say that the public distrust of mass media is not as imminent in our days as it was then, but perhaps questioning the media is not a danger for democracy, but is necessary for their continued function. Democracy is not only threatened by the fact that people are more and more influenced on what to think, but also on what happens when deviant extremists gain ground.

6. A Prospect of the Future

Many people seem to be hoping for technological advances as a major emancipation of voices and opinions, and to some extent this has been so with the development of the internet. The idea that technology will organise and emphasise on grass-roots is according to Peter Manuel (1993:4) the coming democratic order. When he wrote his book Cassette Culture, he was emphasising the technology of cassettes in India. He meant that the new cassette technology had liberalised the medium and given it an ”emancipatory use”; being decentralised, interactive and collective in the production. Almost a decade after his study, we can see how multinational music organisation gathered their forces and created the CD. There seems to be a constant battle between those who try to free the public word and those who copyright it (for better or worse), as is the situation with mass media. Only time can foretell whether the power of controlling the output of information will remain in the hands of ”a prosperous few or a restless many”.

7. Conclusion

In a world of mediated information, power lays in the control of communication. I have aimed at showing how mass media in general and specifically news reports portray biased versions of reality. That there has to be a reason for news disparity, is clear, but the reason itself is not as clear. I have tried to portray how organisations and people make use of their authority and power to influence the outcome of news, as well as how people receive this information, and how this affects their perception of reality.

There is a common saying among anthropologists, that human worlds are culturally constructed. What this means is that we conceptualise our surroundings and understand it through our cultural and social heritage. After analysing the influence media has on people, we can re-evaluate this stance, or at least the concept of culture. If culture creates our worlds, so does it then create media, which according to the structuralist notion, ought to re-create culture and society. But culture and society are not static, so it cannot simply be a question of society re-creating itself. This is, however, a question much too big to be debated at this instance. What can be said, however, is that culture in the sense that it influences society is embedded in people but is also created by them. In other words, people have a considerable say in what media produce and portray.

In the portrayal of the Middle East conflict, my aim was to compare the ”free press” in a few societies often depicted as ”democratic”. The analysis proved that despite the claim of objectivity and impartiality, ”democratic” media tends to be influenced and biased as any other. Influence on media portrayal, as has been shown, can come from economically or politically strong groups, ”the market” or the readers, as well as those who produce the output of media. Considering to what extent media form our perception of the world, and their role as opinion creators in democratic societies, makes it very important to keep an eye on those who influence media. When discussing influences on media, and in particularly the Middle East conflict, one often talks about Jewish lobbying groups, or anti-Semitic lobbying groups, etc, etc. Surely it is important to see who are behind the curtain. It has however not been the objective of this study to point fingers at individual conspirators, but to show that there is indeed a motion behind the curtain, candid from the general audience and (if at all) depicted as a natural and highly desired state. Now that the curtain has fallen, the actors can be unmasked, and the ownership and control of information can be transferred to its rightful owners- the people.

List of references:

Printed Sources:

Anderson, Benedict: Den föreställda gemenskapen. MediaPrint AB, Udevalla, 1996

Billig, Michael: Banal nationalism. Sage Publications, London, 1995

Bourdieu, Pierre: Om televisionen. Brutus Östling, Stockholm, 1998

Chomsky, Noam: Fateful triangle. Pluto Press, London, 1998

Dominique, Stefan: Israel i svenska media. E&D Publications, Malmö, 1998 

Downing, Mohammadi (ed.): Questioning the media. Sage Publications, London, 1990

 Dornfeld, Barry: Producing Public Television, Producing Public Culture. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1998

 Geertz, Clifford: The Interpretation of Cultures. Basic Books, New York, 1973

 Gerbner George: Growing up with television: The Cultivation Perspective. In Bryant Jennings & Zillman Dolf (eds.): Media effects, Advances in Theory and Research. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsadale, 1994.

 Gerholm, Tomas: Att korrigera verkligheten. In Hannerz Ulf (ed.): Medier och kulturer. Carlssons, Stockholm, 1993

 Hannerz, Ulf: Reporting from Jerusalem. Cultural Anthropology 13(4):548-574. 1998

 Haslam, Cheryl and Bryman Alan: Social Scientists Meet the Media. Routledge, London, 1994

 Herman, Edward: Media in the U.S. Political Economy. In Mohammadi Downing (ed.)- Questioning the media. Sage Publications, London, 1990

 Huntington, Samuel: The Clash of Civilizations. Touchstone, London, 1998

 Josefsson, Dan: Välkommen till Dramafabriken. Ordfront förlag, Stockholm. 2000

 Kellner, Douglas: Advertising and Consumer Culture. In Mohammadi Downing (ed.)- Questioning the media. Sage Publications, London 1990

 Knightley, Phillip: The first casualty. Pan Books, London, 1989

 Lappalainen, Tomas: Fri oppinionsbildning eller åsiktsmonopol. In Dan Joseffson (ed.). Välkommen till Dramafabriken. Ordfront Förlag, Stockholm 2000

 Manuel, Peter: Cassette culture. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1993

 McLuhan, Marshall: Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man- Nal Signet Books, New York, 1964.

 McLuhan, Marshall: Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man- Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1967.

 Olson, David: Television and literacy. In Michael Manley-Casimir & Carmen Luke (eds.): Children and Television. Praeger, New York, 1987

 Palmaer, Carsten: Om Kosovo kriget. Ordfront, 10/2000

 Regeringskansliet: Tradition och förnyelse. UtrikesDepartementet, Stockholm, 1999

 Said, Edward: Covering Islam. Vintage, London, 1997

 Schulman, Mark: Control Mechanisms Inside the Media. In Mohammadi Downing (ed.)- Questioning the media. Sage Publications, London, 1990

 Sjökvist, Jan: Media cognition and society. University of Lund department of Social Anthropology, Lund, 1991

 Sorlin, Pierre: Mass Media. Routledge, London, 1994

 Strömbäck, Jesper: Makt och medier. Studentlitteratur, Lund, 2000

 Ussher, Jane: Media representations of Psychology. In Haslam Cheryl and Alan Bryman (eds.)- Social Scientists Meet the Media. Routledge, London, 1994


 Arbeli, Aliza: Woman killed in Gaza ambush. Ha’aretz, 9/11

 Carlbom, Mats: Våldet raserar Clintons förhoppningar. Dagens Nyheter, 14/10-2000

 Doron, Daniel: The Media’s Propaganda war. The Jerusalem Post, 9/11-2000

 Dudkevitch, Margot: 4 Palestinians die in Gaza clashes; Israeli stabbed near capital. The Jerusalem Post, 21/12-2000

 Edvardson, Cordelia: Israel hämnas lynchade soldater. Svenska Dagbladet, 13/10-2000

 Harel, Amos: Border policeman dies at Joseph’s Tomb. Ha’aretz, 2/10-2000

Harel, Amos: A fatal wrong turn. Ha’aretz, 13/10-2000

Harel, Amos: Four Israelis shot dead in two attacks. Ha’aretz, 14/11-2000

Harel, Amos: Four Palestinians killed in Gaza Strip shootings. Ha’aretz, 21/12-2000

 Hass, Amira: Settlers kill villager, Ha’aretz, 18/10-2000

 Shachar, Nathan: Våldet sprider sig in i Israel. Dagens Nyheter, 2/10-2000

Shachar, Nathan: Israel bombade PLO-fästen. Dagens Nyheter, 13/10-2000

Shachar, Nathan: Våldet fortsätter trots uppgörelse. Dagens Nyheter, 18/10-2000

Verter, Yossi: White Book tiger unleashed. Ha’aretz, 21/11-2000

Verter, Yossi: Elections set for February 6. Ha’aretz, 20/12-2000

Ether Media:

 CNN World Report: 2/10-2000; 13/10-2000; 18/10-2000; 9/11-2000; 14/11-2000.

BBC News: 18/10-2000; 9/11-2000; 14/11-2000.

RTR Novosti: 21/6-1999


 Gallup poll 1:

Gallup poll 2:

Anti Defamation League:

 Israeli Defence Forces:


 Barbro Hedwall: Editorial writer , Dagens Nyheter, 12/10-2000

 Jon Åsberg: Chief editor, Stockholm News, 12/10-2000

[5][1] most people however read tabloids and get their information from television

[6][2] more tabloid papers, such as The Jerusalem Post and Yediot Aharonot, retold the military version word by word

[7][3] for further detail see Said 1997

[8][4] this was all revealed in the media after the conflict had ended, but received very little coverage, for further information see i.e.  Palmaer 2000





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