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Quotes and Agendas: Israelis vs. Palestinians on Media, Public and Policy Agendas
Unformatted Document Text:  Fan-Page 9 The analysis of quotes of Israeli and Palestinians began with the retrieval of news wire stories relevant to the disputes between these two peoples. The full texts from all five news wires archived in LexisNexis electronic database were searched for stories including both the word roots "Palestin!" and "Israel!" using the same ! truncation designator described above for polls. Text from 50 words before to 50 words after either search term was retrieved for detailed analysis. Prior work (e.g. Fan, 1988) has shown that text outside this 100-word window typically has very low relevance to the topic under study. Text was retrieved from all stories found with the search command and essentially all were analyzed (Table 1). The retrieval extended for the entire time period for which the news sources were archived. The data were collected through May 2002 and extended back for various time periods with the shortest being back to 1991 for the DPA and the longest extending to1977 for the AP and Xinhua. An earlier analysis (Kemming et al. 2002) was performed using text identified using the same conditions but just covering the period of four weeks before to four weeks after September 11, 2001. For such a short time period, it was possible to list all principal spokespersons. For the present paper, the time interval was so long that it was difficult to enumerate all major speakers for the two sides. Instead, a reading of a sample of news text showed that major organizations were often identified by the first reference to a quoted person in a story. Thus "Palestinian" would typically be found just prior to Yasser Arafat as in "Palestinian President Yasser Arafat." Similarly, the first reference to an Israeli prime minister would be, for example, to "Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin." This same type of attribution was given to other Palestinian and Israeli spokespersons. As a result, the word roots "Israel" and "Palestin" often preceded a speaker’s name during the first mention of that spokesperson. Furthermore, the most common journalistic form in English is to put the person in the text before the verb as in "Sharon said" or "Arafat emphasized." Therefore, speakers for the two sides could often be identified by the condition that the word root "Israel" or "Palestin" should appear a short distance before a verb like "stated" or a related noun like "statement." However, the expression “according to” would precede the name in the text so speech was inferred from this expression being earlier in the text than a speaker. Since the Palestinians were associated with a number of organizations like "Hamas", “Tanzim”, “Fatah” or "PLO," these words were included together with "Palestin" as synonyms for "Palestin," and were also used to implied speaking if they were near a word implying speech. “Jewish settler” or “Jewish settlement” was also considered to refer to Israelis. The InfoTrend computer program (Fan, 1988) was used to identify speakers for the two sides using the condition of a group name close to a speaking word – with the order being determined by the type of speaking word. The software was also configured to identify the first paragraph with a speaker. That speaker was defined to be the first one in the story. If a paragraph was found to have two speakers, a rather uncommon event, then both speakers were assigned to speak second. ˜ In addition, the total number of stories mentioning either side was tallied. The result was that each story mentioning both Israelis and Palestinians was scored to have: its date, whether it had a speaker from one or both sides and which side spoke first (Table 1). Results The structure of the Israeli/Palestinian agenda in the United States

Authors: Fan, David. and Weimann, Gabriel.
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background image
Fan-Page 9
The analysis of quotes of Israeli and Palestinians began with the retrieval of news wire stories
relevant to the disputes between these two peoples. The full texts from all five news wires
archived in LexisNexis electronic database were searched for stories including both the word
roots "Palestin!" and "Israel!" using the same ! truncation designator described above for polls.
Text from 50 words before to 50 words after either search term was retrieved for detailed
analysis. Prior work (e.g. Fan, 1988)
has shown that text outside this 100-word window
typically has very low relevance to the topic under study. Text was retrieved from all stories
found with the search command and essentially all were analyzed (Table 1). The retrieval
extended for the entire time period for which the news sources were archived. The data were
collected through May 2002 and extended back for various time periods with the shortest being
back to 1991 for the DPA and the longest extending to1977 for the AP and Xinhua.

An earlier analysis (Kemming et al. 2002) was performed using text identified using the same
conditions but just covering the period of four weeks before to four weeks after September 11,
2001. For such a short time period, it was possible to list all principal spokespersons. For the
present paper, the time interval was so long that it was difficult to enumerate all major speakers
for the two sides. Instead, a reading of a sample of news text showed that major organizations
were often identified by the first reference to a quoted person in a story. Thus "Palestinian"
would typically be found just prior to Yasser Arafat as in "Palestinian President Yasser Arafat."
Similarly, the first reference to an Israeli prime minister would be, for example, to "Israeli Prime
Minister Menachem Begin." This same type of attribution was given to other Palestinian and
Israeli spokespersons. As a result, the word roots "Israel" and "Palestin" often preceded a
speaker’s name during the first mention of that spokesperson. Furthermore, the most common
journalistic form in English is to put the person in the text before the verb as in "Sharon said" or
"Arafat emphasized." Therefore, speakers for the two sides could often be identified by the
condition that the word root "Israel" or "Palestin" should appear a short distance before a verb
like "stated" or a related noun like "statement." However, the expression “according to” would
precede the name in the text so speech was inferred from this expression being earlier in the text
than a speaker. Since the Palestinians were associated with a number of organizations like
"Hamas", “Tanzim”, “Fatah” or "PLO," these words were included together with "Palestin" as
synonyms for "Palestin," and were also used to implied speaking if they were near a word
implying speech. “Jewish settler” or “Jewish settlement” was also considered to refer to Israelis.

The InfoTrend computer program (Fan, 1988) was used to identify speakers for the two sides
using the condition of a group name close to a speaking word – with the order being determined
by the type of speaking word. The software was also configured to identify the first paragraph
with a speaker. That speaker was defined to be the first one in the story. If a paragraph was
found to have two speakers, a rather uncommon event, then both speakers were assigned to
speak second.
˜
In addition, the total number of stories mentioning either side was tallied. The
result was that each story mentioning both Israelis and Palestinians was scored to have: its date,
whether it had a speaker from one or both sides and which side spoke first (Table 1).
Results

The structure of the Israeli/Palestinian agenda in the United States


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