BATTLE LINES: The American Media and the Intifada by Jim Lederman

BATTLE LINES: The American Media and the Intifada

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A steely-eyed look at the ways in which American print and TV newscasters handled (and apparently mishandled) the Palestinian demonstrations that, starting in December 1987, rocked the occupied zones of Israel and Lebanon for more than a year. Writing from a background of 23 years of reporting in the Mideast, including 14 years as NPR's Israel correspondent, Lederman provides not only the details of the Intifada but a clear and cogent wrap-up of the convoluted background of the Palestinian-Israeli confrontation. Happily, the author eschews the political and professional pieties of his colleagues. He finds, for example, that TV coverage of the crisis was almost without fail shallow and frequently self-serving. Lederman is particularly incensed by the medium's attempt to shape American foreign policy, as it did, he charges, when covering George Shultz's 1988 peacemaking efforts. He describes Israeli authorities as consistently arrogant and xenophobic, suspicious and quick to take offense when criticisms are leveled at their policies and actions--and then goes on to depict Yasir Arafat's PLO as disorganized and opportunistic, more interested in publicity than in real achievements and more caring about expatriate Palestinians than those living in the occupied areas. An epilogue briefly discusses media coverage of the Gulf War; CNN gets high marks for its objectivity and depth. Stimulating, straight-from-the-shoulder analysis.

Pub Date: Feb. 12th, 1992
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Henry Holt