Enemies Also Get Their Say: Press Performance During Political Crises

Meital Balmas, Tamir Sheafer, Gadi Wolfsfeld


The literature on press–state relations has shown that a high degree of consensus among officials limits the appearance of dissenting voices in news coverage. In the present article, we examine this proposition with regard to the debate in the Israeli media concerning how Israel should have reacted to Hamas’ victory in the 2006 Palestinian elections. The data presented here show that even though the debate within the Israeli leadership was limited, national newspapers did produce counterviews that strongly challenged the government’s position of penalizing the Palestinian Authority. In addition, the longer the debate continued, the larger the proportion of oppositional actors, especially Palestinian, that were heard. Finally, the study also points to the important role that the journalists themselves can play in preventing official control by presenting their own views on the issue.


press independence, media discourse, foreign actors, indexing

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