BBC and New York Times’ Coverage of the May 2021 Israeli Onslaught on Gaza: A Critical Discourse Analysis

  •  Mohammed Mosheer A. Amer    


The latest Israeli onslaught on Gaza in May 2021 demonstrated the pivotal role of the international media as an influential source of knowledge-gaining, agenda setting, and opinion shaping for various social groups and audiences. Based on theoretical constructs and analytical tools drawn from Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough, 1992, 1995), this study aims to analyze how the New York Times and the BBC covered the Israeli onslaught on Gaza during May 2021. I examine the main topics and key linguistic structures the two influential media outlets use in constructing Palestinian and Israeli actors and their violent actions and how such coverage contributes to the construction of a particular ideological representation of the events. The results show that the two media outlets mainly served Israel’s justifications and interests at the expense of Palestinian narrative and rights through the conflation of two main topics in their representation of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza. The Israeli war was constructed as a war against Hamas, and not against the Palestinian people. They depict the onslaught as a retaliation to Hamas’s rockets. Furthermore, the human and material losses inflicted by Israel on Gaza were framed along the lines of “there are victims on both sides”. The two topics reduce Israel’s moral and political responsibility for the massive losses in human life and destruction inflicted upon the Palestinians in Gaza. This study shows the potent role of news media in framing, legitimizing, or delegitimizing political actors and their actions and maintaining power asymmetries between different political groups.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

Journal Metrics

Google-based Impact Factor (2021): 1.43

h-index (July 2022): 45

i10-index (July 2022): 283

h5-index (2017-2021): 25

h5-median (2017-2021): 37

Learn more