Tea Time Meeting at the Sharon Hotel - Thursday 24th December 2105
Col. Eisen explained that the difficulties in the media coverage of events in Israel arise from gaps in perception between that of Israel and the rest of the world. Thus the same event is discerned and presented in the Israeli and world media differently.
The impact of any news items and its effect on the reader depends on three matters which she defined as "Framing", "Terms" and "Language".
These dramatically affect the way the viewer or listener will understand the reporting of the event.
Israel views events and situations from a perspective of security, surrounded as we are by hostile nations. The Western world looks at our situation from a humanitarian point of view. Thus, whilst Israel regards soldiers and the security barrier as positive concepts required to protect the nation, these same terms have a negative connotation from a humanitarian point of view, as do the words: settlement, security barrier - which is always pictured as a wall. The world sees Israel against the Palestinians, with Israel as the oppressor and the Palestinians as the victims.
The greatest impact on the reader or viewer is made by the pictures that are used and the headlines that top the item. The terms used in them will affect the understanding of the reader, who will probably only skim the rest of the article - if he/she reads it at all - in a world of 30 second soundbites. Thus a picture of a dead terrorist will be the dominant impression, even though the article will detail the attacks and those killed or injured by the attack.
We need to understand, both as a nation and individuals, that these gaps of perception and differing comprehension of the terms and language used exist. If we do recognize these differences, it will enable us to understand the world media and reporting, and to bridge the gaps, both in the public and private sphere.