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Quotes and Agendas: Israelis vs. Palestinians on Media, Public and Policy Agendas
Unformatted Document Text:  Fan-Page 11 with an equal split of 13 questions on Palestinians and 11 on Arab nations. Then, after two surveys in September 1993, there was a gap of five years to August 1998 during which there were no polls on the Middle East suggesting that American policy interests lay elsewhere. For the entire time period from September 1993 to August 2002, only 3 of the 36 polls were about Arab nations. These data suggest that American policy interests have moved away from state-to-state disputes toward people-to-people issues involving Palestinians and Israelis including a growing recognition of desirability of a Palestinian nation (supported also by the Oslo accords). Although not a direct part of agenda relating Palestinians and Israelis, note that the 66 polls measuring sympathy for Arab nations had a mean of 12 percent and a standard deviation of 4.8 percent. These numbers are not significantly different from those for Palestinians versus the Israelis as presented above. In the Israeli/Arab nation polls, 45 percent favored the Israelis with a standard deviation of 8 percent, again close the values for Israeli/Palestinian polls. The setting of the Israeli/Palestinian agenda in the United States Media agenda. As discussed above, the media data already incorporate input from the Israeli and Palestinians publics and policy elites. In addition, the media report new facts and developments. The September 11 attacks on New York and Washington comprised an event with an especially traumatic effect on the United States. Therefore, RQ4 asked about the extent and duration of any effects of the attacks on quotes of the two sides in the American press. Besides the coarse grained quarterly comparisons of Figs. 2 and 3, the data were plentiful enough to allow for focusing on particular time periods. In Kemming et al. (2002), a study was made of the four weeks before and after the September 11, 2001, examining the coverage in 108 American news sources. The Kemming et al. study reported a small but significant decrease in Israelis being quoted first in the four weeks following September 11, consistent with the American press trying to avoid a repetition of the Japanese internment hysteria during the Second World. The American press wanted to avoid the tarring of all Muslims and Arabs, including the Palestinians, with the terrorist brush (e.g. Whitall 2001). Instead, the media was careful to give Palestinians ample chance to present their views. Since the Kemming et al. study aggregated stories from many news sources in the same four-week time intervals, the present paper also grouped AP stories in four-week time periods starting on September 11. But the analysis extended back to spring 2000 and forward through May 2002. As with the larger news story data set with the more inclusive list of speakers, a decrease was also found in AP coverage for Israelis being quoted first. The drop was from 50.2±5.8% to 47.4±6.2%, a difference that was not significant at 95 percent confidence (Fig. 6). However, the drop continued into the next 4 weeks to 38.6±5.9%, right at edge of 95 percent confidence. Then, in the next time interval, 11/6/2001 to 12/3/2002, there was a sharp increase in Israelis being quoted first by the AP to 56.7±6.2%. After a transient drop in the next 4 weeks, the AP consistently quoted Israelis first more often than Palestinians. This later time period corresponded to sustained terrorist attacks by Palestinians in Israel, using mainly suicide bombing that caused the death of over 600 Israelis, most of them civilians. These

Authors: Fan, David. and Weimann, Gabriel.
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Fan-Page 11
with an equal split of 13 questions on Palestinians and 11 on Arab nations. Then, after two
surveys in September 1993, there was a gap of five years to August 1998 during which there
were no polls on the Middle East suggesting that American policy interests lay elsewhere. For
the entire time period from September 1993 to August 2002, only 3 of the 36 polls were about
Arab nations. These data suggest that American policy interests have moved away from state-to-
state disputes toward people-to-people issues involving Palestinians and Israelis including a
growing recognition of desirability of a Palestinian nation (supported also by the Oslo accords).

Although not a direct part of agenda relating Palestinians and Israelis, note that the 66 polls
measuring sympathy for Arab nations had a mean of 12 percent and a standard deviation of 4.8
percent. These numbers are not significantly different from those for Palestinians versus the
Israelis as presented above. In the Israeli/Arab nation polls, 45 percent favored the Israelis with
a standard deviation of 8 percent, again close the values for Israeli/Palestinian polls.

The setting of the Israeli/Palestinian agenda in the United States
Media agenda. As discussed above, the media data already incorporate input from the
Israeli and Palestinians publics and policy elites. In addition, the media report new facts and
developments. The September 11 attacks on New York and Washington comprised an event
with an especially traumatic effect on the United States. Therefore, RQ4 asked about the extent
and duration of any effects of the attacks on quotes of the two sides in the American press.

Besides the coarse grained quarterly comparisons of Figs. 2 and 3, the data were plentiful enough
to allow for focusing on particular time periods. In Kemming et al. (2002), a study was made of
the four weeks before and after the September 11, 2001, examining the coverage in 108
American news sources. The Kemming et al. study reported a small but significant decrease in
Israelis being quoted first in the four weeks following September 11, consistent with the
American press trying to avoid a repetition of the Japanese internment hysteria during the
Second World. The American press wanted to avoid the tarring of all Muslims and Arabs,
including the Palestinians, with the terrorist brush (e.g. Whitall 2001). Instead, the media was
careful to give Palestinians ample chance to present their views.

Since the Kemming et al. study aggregated stories from many news sources in the same four-
week time intervals, the present paper also grouped AP stories in four-week time periods starting
on September 11. But the analysis extended back to spring 2000 and forward through May 2002.

As with the larger news story data set with the more inclusive list of speakers, a decrease was
also found in AP coverage for Israelis being quoted first. The drop was from 50.2±5.8% to
47.4±6.2%, a difference that was not significant at 95 percent confidence (Fig. 6). However, the
drop continued into the next 4 weeks to 38.6±5.9%, right at edge of 95 percent confidence. Then,
in the next time interval, 11/6/2001 to 12/3/2002, there was a sharp increase in Israelis being
quoted first by the AP to 56.7±6.2%. After a transient drop in the next 4 weeks, the AP
consistently quoted Israelis first more often than Palestinians.

This later time period corresponded to sustained terrorist attacks by Palestinians in Israel, using
mainly suicide bombing that caused the death of over 600 Israelis, most of them civilians. These


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