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With Particular Reference to Public Opinion and Wider Political Implications, Critically Assess the Impact of Press and Broadcast Coverage of the Palestinian Conflict."

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With Particular Reference to Public Opinion and Wider Political Implications, Critically Assess the Impact of Press and Broadcast Coverage of the Palestinian Conflict."

"With particular reference to public opinion and wider political implications, critically assess the impact of press and broadcast coverage of the Palestinian conflict."

The implications of media coverage on the Palestinian conflict are many. The superficiality and commercialisation of the media has resulted in a confused public opinion of the conflict, one of propaganda, naivety, and frequent misunderstanding.

With particular reference to television, the media has come under fire for its surface scratching, depthless propaganda-like reporting of an illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine that can rightfully only come under the name of terrorism.

To examine the implications of television reporting of the conflict we have to familiarise ourselves with media developments in television news. Television is the only medium that, in a 21st century world, is “…�used and respected by almost everyone. It is the only news medium presently capable of reaching across the while of British society’ (Hargreaves and Thomas, 2002: 5)” (Thussu and Freedman, 2003:118).

According to Thussu, Media coverage of conflicts has become a genre in its own right, a �24/7 News’ constant flow of “words, sounds, and images…” (Thussu, 2003: 117). The competitive nature of television news, and its commercial base, can lead to sensationalisation, and trivialisation, of complex issues, as Thussu argues “…news is largely about conflict, and conflict is always news.”(117)

Shaffer (2002) asks the question “whether the entertainment industry is an extension of the war system, or whether war is simply an extension of our need for entertainment?” with this world of 24/7 news, of fantastical words derived from theatrical, entertainment origins (theatre of war, stage and so on) he explains that our minds have become passive, and whether asked by politicians or actors, we suspend our judgement on what we are witnessing, and are content to have our emotions manipulated by those spin doctors as who are hired to do the job.

Public opinion is thus a victim of conflict, particularly to the Israel-Palestinian conflict many have little to no background knowledge of it, and what is known by them is what the press has put out, assuming background knowledge. For the public to know the significance of what is reported, a full level of understanding is needed, but not given.

The key reason, as mentioned the in the research of Philo, Gilmour, Gilmour, Rust, Gaskell and West (Glasgow University Media Group, or GUMG), is that television news is spoken obliquely, in a journalistic shorthand, with explanations rarely given.

The GUMG (2004) conducted a number of questionnaires and discussions with a number of focus groups. The research of the group, printed in Bad News from Israel (Philo and Berry, 2004), showed that when the words �Israeli-Palestine conflict’ where heard, their groups gave responses referring to images of war, conflict and violence using as selective use of language; �war, death, children dying,’; �bombings, people dying’; �gunmen, suicide bombers’ and �children throwing stones at Israeli soldiers’. All, as Shaffer says, very dramatic but beyond this there was little understanding of the conflict, its origins and reasons. Its wider political implications

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