Cite: Archibald and Miller, Israeli Attempts to Control Media Images of Gaza Flotilla

Archibald, David and Mitchell Miller. “Full-Spectacle Dominance? An Analysis of the Israeli State’s Attempts to Control Media Images of the 2010 Gaza Flotilla." Journal of War & Culture Studies 5.2 (2012): 189-201.

URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/intellect/jwcs/2012/00000005/00000002/art00005

Abstract

This article analyses the Israeli state’s attempts to control the images employed during the reporting of the Israeli navy’s interception of a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to Palestine on 31 May 2010. In the ensuing 48 hours, widespread use of footage released by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) ensured that the Israeli state’s narrative dominated western reporting of the event. The authors coin the term `full-spectacle dominance’ to describe the Israeli state’s strategy in media-managing this event. Drawing on the work of Tagg, Cottle and de Certeau, the article reviews the efficacy of Israel’s attempts to prevent the circulation of images that challenge their narrative of events, and the promotion of images which substantiate these narratives. The article argues that mainstream media programmes, such as BBC Panorama’s Death in the Med, embedded these images within a biased,pro-Israeli interpretative framework, in contrast to an interpretative framework more sympathetic to the flotilla’s participants evident in Al-Jazeera’s A Voyage of Life and Death. The article also notes the use of social media platforms by pro-Palestinian bloggers and activists. Their use of this technology allowed images and eyewitness testimony to emerge, which challenged the initial pro-Israeli reporting. Thus, although the Israeli state was largely successful in dominating the reporting of the event, the spectacle of the conflict remained contested.

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