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Quotes and Agendas: Israelis vs. Palestinians on Media, Public and Policy Agendas
Unformatted Document Text:  Fan-Page 12 terrorist attacks targeted buses, schools, coffee shops and restaurants, victimizing many children, elderly and women. This terrorist wave led to media coverage with pictures of bombed buses, dead children and mass burials which caused sympathy for victimized Israelis and a reaction against the Palestinians. That is not to way that there was no coverage of the damage caused in Palestinian areas due to Israeli military action. Public agenda. As noted above, the media and public agenda data of RQ1 and RQ2 measure different concepts with the first including at least some cognitive components while the second is purely affective. Therefore, there is no necessary relationship between the two, but the possibility of a relation does exist as posed by RQ5. One possibility would have been to use media coverage to predict survey time trends on sympathy for the Palestinians and the Israelis (e.g. Fan 1988). This modeling was not undertaken because inspection of Figs. 4 and 5 shows that the general time trend was essentially flat with no consistent change over time. Instead, the survey percentages showed substantial scatter. This was due a large part of the American public being either confused or indifferent because 38 ± 9 percent did not express sympathy for either party in the Israeli/Palestinian questions with comparable value being 42 ± 10 for the Israeli/Arab surveys. The high percentage of people not expressing an opinion together with large scatter in the measured values indicates that it would have been difficult to be sure that the modeling was not explaining noise in the opinion measurements. However, the flatness of the opinion time trends is in itself meaningful. The interpretation is that sympathy has been largely refractory to all external influences. In other words, sympathy has been not only unresponsive to quoted information but also to all other types of information. Thus the answer to RQ5 is that the public agenda of sympathy can only be altered in the future by information which is either qualitatively or quantitatively different from that which has been presented to the American public so far over the past quarter century. The structure and setting of the Israeli/Palestinian agenda in other regions of the world Media agenda. Having computed the time trend of quotes in AP as one measure of the media agenda, the same analysis was extended to other news wires around the world to address RQ6. Fig. 1 shows when stories from different news agencies entered the database. The plot extended from January 1977 through May 2002, the time period for which both AP and Xinhua stories were archived. Data from all news sources were plotted as they became available. Although there are significant differences among the various news sources, not much should be made of these differences. That is because the volume of news stories coverage has changed over time for the various news agencies. For technical reasons, it was impractical to count all the news items from a news agency over time. Therefore, it was not feasible to divide news coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian issue by the total of news items. An attempt was made to estimate the total coverage by an agency over time by counting items for sample weeks (one week in the middle February and another in the middle of August). However, this approach ws not useful since the number of items varied so sharply that limited these samples could not be used to represent longer time periods.

Authors: Fan, David. and Weimann, Gabriel.
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background image
Fan-Page 12
terrorist attacks targeted buses, schools, coffee shops and restaurants, victimizing many children,
elderly and women. This terrorist wave led to media coverage with pictures of bombed buses,
dead children and mass burials which caused sympathy for victimized Israelis and a reaction
against the Palestinians. That is not to way that there was no coverage of the damage caused in
Palestinian areas due to Israeli military action.
Public agenda. As noted above, the media and public agenda data of RQ1 and RQ2
measure different concepts with the first including at least some cognitive components while the
second is purely affective. Therefore, there is no necessary relationship between the two, but the
possibility of a relation does exist as posed by RQ5.

One possibility would have been to use media coverage to predict survey time trends on
sympathy for the Palestinians and the Israelis (e.g. Fan 1988). This modeling was not
undertaken because inspection of Figs. 4 and 5 shows that the general time trend was essentially
flat with no consistent change over time. Instead, the survey percentages showed substantial
scatter. This was due a large part of the American public being either confused or indifferent
because 38
±
9 percent did not express sympathy for either party in the Israeli/Palestinian
questions with comparable value being 42
±
10 for the Israeli/Arab surveys. The high
percentage of people not expressing an opinion together with large scatter in the measured values
indicates that it would have been difficult to be sure that the modeling was not explaining noise
in the opinion measurements.

However, the flatness of the opinion time trends is in itself meaningful. The interpretation is that
sympathy has been largely refractory to all external influences. In other words, sympathy has
been not only unresponsive to quoted information but also to all other types of information.
Thus the answer to RQ5 is that the public agenda of sympathy can only be altered in the future
by information which is either qualitatively or quantitatively different from that which has been
presented to the American public so far over the past quarter century.

The structure and setting of the Israeli/Palestinian agenda in other regions of the world
Media agenda. Having computed the time trend of quotes in AP as one measure of the
media agenda, the same analysis was extended to other news wires around the world to address
RQ6. Fig. 1 shows when stories from different news agencies entered the database. The plot
extended from January 1977 through May 2002, the time period for which both AP and Xinhua
stories were archived. Data from all news sources were plotted as they became available.
Although there are significant differences among the various news sources, not much should be
made of these differences. That is because the volume of news stories coverage has changed
over time for the various news agencies. For technical reasons, it was impractical to count all the
news items from a news agency over time. Therefore, it was not feasible to divide news
coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian issue by the total of news items. An attempt was made to
estimate the total coverage by an agency over time by counting items for sample weeks (one
week in the middle February and another in the middle of August). However, this approach ws
not useful since the number of items varied so sharply that limited these samples could not be
used to represent longer time periods.


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