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Media and government : the effect of the press on U.S. foreign policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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posted on 15.12.2014, 10:40 by Sigal Segev
This study looks into the relationship between the U.S. media and government with respect to U.S. foreign policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Based on quantitative and qualitative content analysis of selected items from the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Public Papers of the Presidents of the U.S. and the Congressional Records, this research drew insights about concepts to government-media relationship, media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, determinants of foreign policy formulation and decision-making was well as the media's role in this process. The analysis encompassed three periods reflecting turning points in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, covering both crisis and non-crisis (relatively peaceful) periods. Analysis included press, and Presidential communications between the years 1977-1979, 1993-1994 and 2000-2001, as well as Congressional communications between the years 2000-2001. Consistent with previous studies, this research showed no media effect on U.S. foreign policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather, press coverage tended to conform to the President's tone and line in most parameters, including source of policy, frames, images, and attitudes on specific policy issues. Similarly, press portrayal of the antagonists seemed to have no effect on the government's basic policy, showing no correspondence with their image changes over time. In addition, the study implies that as U.S. policies toward international conflicts becomes more crystallised, supported by both the administration and Congress, media's influence becomes more marginal. Furthermore, foreign policy is determined by the interplay between the relevant political institutions (U. S. administration and Congress) and is more likely to be changed and adjusted according to the geo-political, international and U.S. national interest considerations, rather than a result of media coverage, criticism and portrayal.


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University of Leicester

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