Mohammedwesam Amer (2016) War Reporting in the International Press: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Gaza War of 2008-2009 , Communication Sciences And Languages .
This study analyses the representation of social actors in reports on the Gaza war of 2008-09 in four international newspapers: The Guardian, The Times London, The New York Times and The Washington Post. The study draws on three analytical frameworks from the area of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) models: the transitivity model by Halliday (1985/1994), the socio-semantic inventory by Van Leeuwen (1996), and the classification of quotation patterns by Richardson (2007). The sample of this study consists of all headlines (146) of the relevant news stories and a non-random sample of (40) news stories and (7) editorials. To give statistical estimations for the qualitative analysis, the study examines the frequency distributions of linguistic and representational processes.
The findings indicate that Israeli politicians and Palestinian civilians are the most frequently included and quoted actors across the four selected newspapers. The analysis shows substantial similarities in representation patterns among the four newspapers. More specifically, the selected newspapers foreground Israeli agency in achieving a ceasefire and targeting Hamas, whereby Israeli actors are predominantly assigned (1) transitivity processes, e.g. behavioural, verbal and material processes, and (2) activated roles. By contrast, the four newspapers foreground Palestinian agency in refusing ceasefire and firing rockets through (1) assigning the Palestinian actors relational and material processes, and (2) activated roles. These agency realisations indicate that Israel reacts to Hamas' firing of rockets, i.e. reactions to actions. Within these patterns of representation, civilian actors on both sides are treated equally in facing consequences of war, i.e. balancing suffering of Israeli and Palestinian civilian actors although the number of Palestinian casualties is distinctively higher.
In quotation patterns, the selected newspapers show Israeli efforts towards achieving ceasefire and justification for targeting Hamas and are drawing on Israeli news sources, e.g. Ha'aretz and Yedioth Ahronoth in quoting Israelis. On the contrary, the newspapers show Hamas' rejection and conditions for a ceasefire agreement, calling for fighting Israel, and suffering of Palestinian civilians from consequences of war. The newspapers refer to Al-Jazeera and Hamas’ TV – in quoting Hamas leaders, e.g. Khaled Meshal and Musa abu Marzouq.
Overall, the findings of this study suggest that news reports on the Gaza war of 2008-09 are influenced by (a) political orientations of the newspapers, (b) editorial policies, and (c) journalistic practices. The most represented actors are Israeli governmental officials, whereas Palestinian actors are Hamas members. This representation draws an overall image that the war is being directed against Hamas.