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Attack When the World is Not Watching? International Media and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Abstract : Governments often take unpopular measures. To minimize the political cost of such measures policy makers may strategically time them to coincide with other newsworthy events, which distract the media and the public. We test this hypothesis using data on the recurrent Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Combining daily data on attacks on both sides of the conflict with data on the content of evening news for top U.S. TV networks, we show that Israeli attacks are more likely to be carried out when the U.S. news are expected to be dominated by important (non-Israel-related) events on the following day. In contrast, we find no evidence of strategic timing for Palestinian attacks. The timing of Israeli attacks minimizes the next-day news coverage which, as confirmed by comprehensive video content analysis, is especially charged with negative emotional content. We also find that: i) strategic timing is applied to retaliation only in periods of less intense fighting, when the urgency of retaliation is lower; ii) strategic timing is present only for the Israeli attacks that bear risk of civilians being affected; and iii) Israeli attacks are timed to newsworthy events that are predictable.
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Preprints, Working Papers, ...
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Contributor : Spire Sciences Po Institutional Repository Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 4:27:28 AM
Last modification on : Friday, April 29, 2022 - 10:13:05 AM


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Ruben Durante, Ekaterina Zhuravskaya. Attack When the World is Not Watching? International Media and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. 2015. ⟨hal-03459981⟩



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