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Few topics in the news are more hotly contested than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--and news coverage itself is always a subject of debate. But rarely do these debates incorporate an on-the-ground perspective of what and who newsmaking entails. Studying how journalists work in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Nablus, and on the tense roads that connect these cities, Amahl Bishara demonstrates how the production of U.S. news about Palestinians depends on multifaceted collaborations, typically invisible to Western readers. She focuses on the work that Palestinian journalists do behind the scenes and below the bylines--as fixers, photojournalists, camerapeople, reporters, and producers--to provide the news that Americans read, see, and hear every day. Ultimately, this book demonstrates how Palestinians play integral roles in producing U.S. news and how U.S. journalism in turn shapes Palestinian politics. U.S. objectivity is in Palestinian journalists' hands, and Palestinian self-determination cannot be fully understood without attention to the journalist standing off to the side, quietly taking notes. Back Storiesexamines news stories big and small--Yassir Arafat's funeral, female suicide bombers, protests against the separation barrier, an all-but-unnoticed killing of a mentally retarded man--to investigate urgent questions about objectivity, violence, the state, and the production of knowledge in today's news. This book reaches beyond the headlines into the lives of Palestinians during the second intifada to give readers a new vantage point on both Palestinians and journalism.
Amahl A. Bishara is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Tufts University. She filmed the documentary Across Oceans, Among Colleagues (2002), which follows the advocacy efforts of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists on behalf of journalists in the Middle East.
Table of Contents
|List of Illustrations||p. xi|
|A Note on Transliteration||p. xvii|
|Does a Checkpoint Have Two Sides?||p. 29|
|Balanced Objectivity and Accumulated Authorship||p. 34|
|Words That Fly in the Air||p. 68|
|Arming State Speech, Constraining Journalists' Work||p. 73|
|An Innocent Evening Out? Representing Cultural Life and Resistance||p. 102|
|Working from Home: Disinterest and the Scope of the Political||p. 106|
|A Reliable Source? Prison Bars as Sound Barrier||p. 131|
|The Embodied and Up-Close Work of Journalism||p. 136|
|Locating the Foreign Correspondent at a Demonstration||p. 162|
|The Separation Wall as Stage for Refugee Identities||p. 167|
|Parsing "Chaos"||p. 197|
|Watching U.S. Television from the Palestinian Street||p. 202|
|A Discerning Representation of More Than "Two Sides"||p. 229|
|Conclusion. Framing Graffiti: Voice, Materiality, and Violence||p. 233|
|Works Cited||p. 291|
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