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The Impact of Media Bias on Coverage of Catastrophic Events:Case Study from The New York Times' Coverage of the Palestine/Israel Conflict

Caballero, Jonas Xavier (2010) The Impact of Media Bias on Coverage of Catastrophic Events:Case Study from The New York Times' Coverage of the Palestine/Israel Conflict. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study investigates how the impact of media bias affects the news coverage of catastrophic events with regard to the Palestine/Israel conflict. Particularly, this study focuses on Operation Cast Lead, the 3-week Israeli military assault on the Gaza Strip that resulted in the death of nearly 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis. The Times' manner of covering the conflict, characterized in previous research as manifesting media bias toward Israel, is examined within a context of media manipulation, misrepresentation, framing, slant, and linguistic determinism. This study provides insight into the role played by the mainstream media in distorting the facts of the Palestine/Israel conflict in order to present a picture that portrays Israel in a more favorable light.Ninety-one articles were chosen from the New York Times' news and editorial coverage of Operation Cast Lead, from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009, plus an additional week as to allow for corrections and further coverage. This study employs content analysis to determine how the New York Times presents their stories and how often they report Palestinian deaths and injuries incurred during the catastrophic period versus the number of Israeli deaths and injuries covered in the texts. B'Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, provides data on the number of deaths and injuries during Operation Cast Lead, providing the quantitative base to which this study's results are compared. Although Palestinians died at a rate 106 times more than Israelis, the New York Times engaged in a practice of media bias that resulted in coverage of only 3% of Palestinian deaths in the headlines and first paragraphs. Upon analyzing the articles' entireties, this study found that the New York Times covered 431% of Israeli deaths and only 17% of Palestinian deaths, a ratio of 25:1. Only 17% of Palestinian children deaths were covered in the full articles.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Caballero, Jonas
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBamyeh, Mohammed Amab205@pitt.eduMAB205
Committee MemberBazian,
Committee MemberSaffron,
Committee MemberEl Abbadi,
Date: 21 December 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 16 April 2010
Approval Date: 21 December 2010
Submission Date: 22 April 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: agenda setting; alternative media; catastrophe; conflict; coverage; distortion; ethics; framing; Gaza Strip; ideology; If Americans Knew; independent media; intifada; Israel; Israeli; journalism; labeling; linguistic determinism; mainstream media; media bias; Middle East; New York Times; Operation Cast Lead; Palestine; Palestinian; propaganda; slant; West Bank
Other ID:, etd-04222010-112812
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:41
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:41


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