Pens and Swords: How the Amer­i­can Main­stream Media Report the Israeli-Pales­tin­ian Conflict

Mar­da Dunsky
  • Review
By – January 23, 2012
Mar­da Dun­sky, a jour­nal­ist and a schol­ar, decon­structs the work of more than two dozen media out­lets, both print and broad­cast, that have dis­sem­i­nat­ed news about the Israeli-Pales­tin­ian con­flict and spread the sto­ry around the world, influ­enc­ing pub­lic opin­ion and cre­at­ing a view she con­sid­ers biased. Those who have report­ed on the con­flict, she feels, have failed to dis­cuss the effect of U.S. pol­i­cy on the con­flict itself, and, in her view, pol­i­cy­mak­ers in Wash­ing­ton set the premis­es and the news media sim­ply fol­low along. She believes the media have an implic­it oblig­a­tion to chal­lenge these assump­tions, and that they rou­tine­ly fail to do so. The result is a sig­nif­i­cant pro-Israel bias in Amer­i­can media reports about the dis­pute, and a per­pet­u­a­tion of the stereo­types that con­tin­ue to shape and define the issue. Dun­sky has exten­sive expe­ri­ence cov­er­ing the Mid­dle East as an Arab affairs reporter for the Jerusalem Post, and her writ­ing is per­cep­tive and her argu­ments insight­ful, though one could dis­pute the empir­i­cal evi­dence on which she builds her case. The work cov­ers the peri­od from the unsuc­cess­ful Camp David sum­mit in 2000 through the 2004 Pales­tin­ian upris­ing. Index, notes.

Lin­da F. Burghardt is a New York-based jour­nal­ist and author who has con­tributed com­men­tary, break­ing news, and fea­tures to major news­pa­pers across the U.S., in addi­tion to hav­ing three non-fic­tion books pub­lished. She writes fre­quent­ly on Jew­ish top­ics and is now serv­ing as Schol­ar-in-Res­i­dence at the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al & Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau County.

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