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Quotes and Agendas: Israelis vs. Palestinians on Media, Public and Policy Agendas
Unformatted Document Text:  Fan-Page 13 Over the total time span of data availability, the American AP was the most favorable to the Israelis followed by DPA, TASS with AFP and Xinhua being approximately balanced (Table 1). This order is not surprising given that the political climate of both the United States (AP) and Germany (DPA) are more favorable to the Israelis. The Chinese Xinhua showed a sharp contrast to the AP. The time trend of Israelis being quoted first tracked well with the time trend of Israelis being quoted at all (Fig. 2 and 7). Also, from 1983 through 1991, Palestinians were both quoted and quoted first more often than the Israelis about 60 percent of the time, giving the Palestinians an advantage of one and a half times (Fig. 7). This may reflect China’s support of Arab countries and later the Palestinian side before the first agreements between Israel (led by the late Prime Minister Rabin) and the PLO (led by Arafat). A subsequent change in the Chinese political climate towards Israel was manifested in such actions as exchanges of official visits, establishment of commercial ties, and more positive coverage of Israel in the Chinese press. These shifts, taking place mainly in the early 1990s, are echoed in our findings since, after 1994, there was a considerable change in Xinhua’s coverage, with a tendency toward greater balance in Israeli and Palestinian quotes. Sometimes, Israeli speakers even had a small advantage. But in 2002, the trend changed again toward more Palestinians quotes. This shift reflects the 2001-2 Intifada and the Chinese official support of the Palestinian case. TASS only became available in 1987 when the Soviet era was ending (Fig. 2 and 8). As with Xinhua, there was coordinated movement of the time trends of Israelis speaking first or at all. The pattern here is of a more balanced quoting even though Israeli quotes decreased after 2002. The inaccessibility of TASS stories before 1987 prevents us from examining the period when the Soviet Union was anti-Israeli, supporting both the Arab countries and Palestinian organizations (even those involved in terrorism). Peace between Israel and some Arab countries combined with the decline of the Communist regime led to considerable improvement in Israeli-Russian relationships, as was the case with China. Again, as with other news wires, the Palestinian uprising in the 2000s, resulted in a shift towards the Palestinians. The French AFP overall coverage has been very balanced: 61.8% of the stories had Israeli speakers, compared with 61.3% with Palestinian speakers. Israelis spoke first in 37.5% of the items while Palestinians as first speakers had a slight advantage (39.5%). Within this average, there were changes over time. Before 1994, the AFP gave Israelis a 60 percent share of both speaking first and speaking at all (Fig. 9). Again, both these two types of quotes moved together. After 1994, AFP quotes shifted to a balance of about one to one for Palestinians and Israelis. Finally, the German DPA was the consensus news wire with its quoting pattern in the middle of that of the other news wires. Since it became available in 1994, there was little change in the percentages for Israelis speaking either first or at all (Figs. 2 and 10). However, by 2002, only the AP showed a significant net advantage for Israeli spokespersons. Among all other news wires, the Palestinians were either quoted significantly more frequently (AFP, TASS, Xinhua) or not significantly different from the Israelis (DPA) (Table 1). The pattern of giving Israeli speakers an advantage during the Intifada’s wave of terrorism was found for most news sources; the AP certainly demonstrated this shift and as did the German DPA (Fig. 10).

Authors: Fan, David. and Weimann, Gabriel.
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Fan-Page 13
Over the total time span of data availability, the American AP was the most favorable to the
Israelis followed by DPA, TASS with AFP and Xinhua being approximately balanced (Table 1).
This order is not surprising given that the political climate of both the United States (AP) and
Germany (DPA) are more favorable to the Israelis.

The Chinese Xinhua showed a sharp contrast to the AP. The time trend of Israelis being quoted
first tracked well with the time trend of Israelis being quoted at all (Fig. 2 and 7). Also, from
1983 through 1991, Palestinians were both quoted and quoted first more often than the Israelis
about 60 percent of the time, giving the Palestinians an advantage of one and a half times (Fig.
7). This may reflect China’s support of Arab countries and later the Palestinian side before the
first agreements between Israel (led by the late Prime Minister Rabin) and the PLO (led by
Arafat). A subsequent change in the Chinese political climate towards Israel was manifested in
such actions as exchanges of official visits, establishment of commercial ties, and more positive
coverage of Israel in the Chinese press. These shifts, taking place mainly in the early 1990s, are
echoed in our findings since, after 1994, there was a considerable change in Xinhua’s coverage,
with a tendency toward greater balance in Israeli and Palestinian quotes. Sometimes, Israeli
speakers even had a small advantage. But in 2002, the trend changed again toward more
Palestinians quotes. This shift reflects the 2001-2 Intifada and the Chinese official support of the
Palestinian case.

TASS only became available in 1987 when the Soviet era was ending (Fig. 2 and 8). As with
Xinhua, there was coordinated movement of the time trends of Israelis speaking first or at all.
The pattern here is of a more balanced quoting even though Israeli quotes decreased after 2002.
The inaccessibility of TASS stories before 1987 prevents us from examining the period when the
Soviet Union was anti-Israeli, supporting both the Arab countries and Palestinian organizations
(even those involved in terrorism). Peace between Israel and some Arab countries combined with
the decline of the Communist regime led to considerable improvement in Israeli-Russian
relationships, as was the case with China. Again, as with other news wires, the Palestinian
uprising in the 2000s, resulted in a shift towards the Palestinians.

The French AFP overall coverage has been very balanced: 61.8% of the stories had Israeli
speakers, compared with 61.3% with Palestinian speakers. Israelis spoke first in 37.5% of the
items while Palestinians as first speakers had a slight advantage (39.5%). Within this average,
there were changes over time. Before 1994, the AFP gave Israelis a 60 percent share of both
speaking first and speaking at all (Fig. 9). Again, both these two types of quotes moved together.
After 1994, AFP quotes shifted to a balance of about one to one for Palestinians and Israelis.

Finally, the German DPA was the consensus news wire with its quoting pattern in the middle of
that of the other news wires. Since it became available in 1994, there was little change in the
percentages for Israelis speaking either first or at all (Figs. 2 and 10). However, by 2002, only
the AP showed a significant net advantage for Israeli spokespersons. Among all other news
wires, the Palestinians were either quoted significantly more frequently (AFP, TASS, Xinhua) or
not significantly different from the Israelis (DPA) (Table 1). The pattern of giving Israeli
speakers an advantage during the Intifada’s wave of terrorism was found for most news sources;
the AP certainly demonstrated this shift and as did the German DPA (Fig. 10).


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