In This Review

Battle Lines: The American Media And The Intifada
Battle Lines: The American Media And The Intifada
By Jim Lederman
Henry Holt, 1992, 342 pp

An experienced foreign correspondent takes a hard look at media coverage of the Palestinian intifada (with an epilogue on the Gulf War). He has strong criticisms of how both Israelis and Palestinians (and the American and Iraqi governments in the gulf conflict) tried to manipulate the media, but reserves his harshest comments for American television coverage. He is particularly worried about television's temptation to highlight the dramatic, the violent, the shocking parts of any story. This "imagespeak," he believes, dominates the public's perception of the news, even when accompanying commentary may try to provide context and balance. Somewhat surprisingly his overall conclusion is that experienced reporters eventually did a pretty good job of covering the intifada, despite problems in the early months. Lederman raises many issues that deserve attention but is short on answers. One wonders if there are "solutions" to the problems of selective perception and distortion that preoccupy him.