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For journalists and reporters, the allegation of hegemonic practices constitute a most serious condemnation. It supposes that the media is working in the interest of the political establishment to create a false counsciousness. However, starting with Raymond Williams's refined definition of hegemony, Tamar Liebes shows how hegemony is an almost unwitting process which supports the status quo and the establishment. Reporting the Israeli-Arab Conflict illustrates how this 'soft hegemony' is manifest in the everyday workings of the media, and all the more so, when the media are on one side of a serious conflict. Considering the reporting of the Israel-Arab conflict and the 1991 Gulf War, Liebes demonstrates how national journalism supports the dominant ideology. This unintentional assimilation is the result of shared values, the inaccessibility of the other side, the preference for celebrating success rather than exposing failure, and a wish to be popular with the public. It shows how journalists abandon their watch-dog role, however unintentionally, to support 'our side', especially in time of war.
This book demonstrates how readers and viewers are implicated in this process by virtue of their expectations and their inability to decode the press critically. Illustrations are provided of how conflict may be otherwise depicted, for example by artists and front-line participants, as well as how media literate readers can learn to read between the lines.