conflict & communication online, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2012
ISSN 1618-0747




Felix Gaisbauer
Representations of victimization and responsibility during the Second Intifada and the Gaza War in German quality newspapers

The German press has often been accused of fanning, through one-sided reportage (bias) on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not only anti-Israeli, but also anti-Semitic attitudes in their readers. A content analytic study by Maurer and Kempf (2011) of a representative sample of the reportage on the second Intifada and the Gaza war does not support these claims. The study concentrated above all on escalation vs. de-escalation-oriented representations of the conflict parties.
Using the same text material (N = 396 newspaper articles), the present study has the aim of determining the representation (framing) of Israeli and Palestinian victims, as well as the representation of responsibility for this victimization in German quality newspapers. By means of Latent Class Analysis, consistent patterns of style characteristics are identified that emphasize or suppress the aspects of victimization and responsibility. These media frames are then studied in regard to their partisanship (bias) and tendency over time (second Intifada vs. Gaza war).
It was found that from the second Intifada to the Gaza war the media frames increasingly show a pro-Palestinian bias, while the pro-Israeli bias in the reportage becomes weaker. In part, this is counterbalanced in that frames that try for balance with a pro-Israeli tendency emphasize Israeli civilian victims. Thereby all the newspapers studied display the here identified forms of bias to the same degree, so that it is not the press „in itself“ that can be judged to be biased, but rather the individual articles in all the newspapers take clear positions.


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On the author:
Felix Gaisbauer (b. 1985), a university certified psychologist (Diplom-Psychologe), studied psychology and political science at the University of Konstanz, as well as in the frame of a semester abroad devoted to Middle East Studies at Tel Aviv University. He was a member of the Peace Research Group (Projektgruppe Friedensforschung) at the University of Konstanz in the framework of the DFG project “Criticism of Israel: Dealing with German History and the Differentiation of Modern anti-Semitism” under the direction of Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Kempf. He currently works at the German Institute for Development Evaluation (Deutsches Evaluierungsinstitut der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit; DEval).

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