The Wrong Story

sub-heading:
Palestine, Israel, and the Media

“In the face of all of the trash that continues to pass for news and analysis of the Palestine-Israel conflict, Shupak deserves immense praise for working to set the record straight.”

Middle East Eye
£13.38

Adding to cart… The item has been added
  • 195 pages
  • Paperback ISBN 9781682191286
  • E-book ISBN 9781682191293

about the book

The Wrong Story lays bare the flaws in the way large media organizations present the Palestine-Israel issue. It points out major fallacies in the fundamental conceptions that underpin their coverage, namely that Palestinians and Israelis are both victims to comparable extents and are equally responsible for the failure to find a solution; that the problem is “extremists”, often religiously-motivated ones, who need to be sidelined in favour of “moderates”; and that Israel’s uses of force are typically justifiable acts of self-defense.

Weaving together the existing literature with new insights, Shupak offers an up-to-date and tightly focused guide that exposes the distorted way these issues are presented and why each is misguided.


Advance Praise

“By refusing the ‘both sides’ narrative Greg Shupak reminds the reader of the asymmetrical relation between the colonizer and the colonized... Distortions, falsifications and omissions, the author asserts, have largely been characteristic of existing media. I highly recommend this book for media students and experts.”

—Nahla Abdo, author, Captive Revolution

“In The Wrong Story, Gregory Shupak powerfully dismantles the mainstream English-language press’ deeply problematic-and false-narrative about Palestine... Give this book both to those interested in learning (or unlearning) about Palestine, and to those eager to learn about deconstructing the media’s lies and, unfortunately, all too often the false framing of the so-called human rights organizations.”

—Rania Masri

“Shupak’s The Wrong Story is a crisply written yet formidable analysis of some of the key tropes underlying media narratives surrounding Palestine-Israel. Neatly organized around the New York Times coverage of Israel’s attacks against the Gaza Strip in 2014, the book powerfully reveals the hidden histories of colonization, dispossession, and occupation. A searing indictment of how the corporate media frames Israeli state policy-and a much needed corrective for all those interested in really understanding the ongoing injustice against the Palestinian people.”

—Adam Hanieh, author Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States

“The unrelenting, decades-long pattern of biased media coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict has had deadly consequences for the Palestinians. Seeing through it requires rigorous study and careful thinking. In The Wrong Story, Greg Shupak demonstrates not only how and why the media are so awful on this issue, but also what coverage of Israel/Palestine reveals about media frames and biases more generally. The result is an invaluable short course on the media.”

—Justin Podur, Professor, York University; author, Haiti’s New Dictatorship

“A powerful and insightful analysis that confronts, challenges and exposes the systematically deceptive frameworks and narratives in English-language mainstream media regarding Palestine and the Palestinian people. Shupak’s careful and precise work lays bare the colonial realities that are routinely evaded by major corporate and official media. It is a necessary tool for researchers, activists, students and all media consumers who wish to understand the reality of occupation, colonization and apartheid in Palestine.”

—Charlotte Kates, International Coordinator, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

“In the tradition of Norman Finkelstein’s work, Shupak uses evidence to challenge three dominant narratives presented by the mainstream media about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He guides readers through media misrepresentation in order to grasp the complex reality of two unequal parties in a situation of occupation. Drawing on the events of 2014, but also the broader context of the conflict, this book is a great teaching tool about the Israeli occupation of Palestine for university students as well as general audiences.”

—Dr. Angela Joya, Department of International Studies, University of Oregon

“Greg Shupak’s book is a nuanced, engaging and accessible deconstruction of the often distorted media narratives around Palestine/Israel. He compels the reader to see beyond simplistic headlines and overly rehearsed soundbites. This is a very welcome and timely intervention.”

—Rafeef Ziadah, University of London, author and performer of We Teach Life

“In his judicious study of corporate media narratives on the Israel-Palestine conflict, Gregory Shupak uncovers and debunks the misleading tropes that have allowed Israel to maintain its military and expansionist policies. Shupak not only deconstructs the media narratives that perpetuate Israel’s illegal and oppressive practices, but links these narratives to the political economy of global capitalism under American hegemony. With a careful and insightful analysis of comparative evidence, Shupak succeeds in recasting the conflict in ways that point towards liberation for all parties interested in peace and justice.”

—Jerome Klassen, University of Massachusetts Boston

About The Author / Editor

Greg Shupak has a PhD in Literary Studies and teaches Media Studies at the University of Guelph in Toronto. His fiction has appeared in a wide range of literary journals and he regularly writes analysis of politics and media for a variety of outlets including Electronic Intifada, In These Times, Jacobin, Literary Review of Canada, Middle East Eye, TeleSUR, This Magazine, and Warscapes.

Read An Excerpt

From the Introduction

after Danez Smith, with a line by Ol’ Dirty Bastard

In each chapter of this book, I demonstrate that the narrative under consideration is both widespread and distorted. Each one misleads, furthermore, in a manner favorable to Israel. The “both sides” narrative identifies a small portion of the injustice done to Palestinians while proportionately inflating the harm done to Israelis. This perspective, moreover, advances a false equivalency between the rights and responsibilities of the colonizers and the colonized. Framing Palestine-Israel in terms of “extremists and moderates” diagnoses the problem of ongoing violence as being a result of Palestinian terrorists and in some cases a fringe of hardline Israelis. Such a view implies that Palestinians resistant to US-Israeli prerogatives are dangerous fanatics as are Israel’s settlers and far right and prescribes the solution of isolating Palestinians who are unwilling to accommodate US-Israeli designs and empowering more pliable Palestinians. This narrative also suggests that the right wing fringes of the Israeli polity are deviations from an otherwise civilized society who can be brought under control by the majority of the country’s ruling class, which is allegedly democratic and peace-seeking. The story of “Israel defending itself” supposes that the question of Palestine is unresolved because of Palestinian attacks, judges Palestinian militant’s engagement in armed conflict to be unjustified and Israel’s involvement to be justified, and advocates solutions characterized by Palestinian surrender and Israeli dominance.

Narratives such as these emerge when an issue is repeatedly covered using the same media frame. “To frame”, according to Robert Entman, “is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item described. Typically frames diagnose, evaluate, and prescribe”. Through these processes, the media send messages about the nature of socio-political problems, their causes, who bears responsibility for them, how conflicts can be resolved, and which parties must take which actions for that to happen. Joseph N. Cappella and Kathleen Hall Jamieson write that “news frames are those rhetorical and stylistic choices, reliably identified in news” which have the capacity to “alter the interpretations of the topics treated and are a consistent part of the news environment”. By taking these approaches, media outlets construct overarching stories about the subject in question.

The stories told about Palestine-Israel are as notable for what they exclude as they are for what they include. Narrative frames, as Entman points out, “are defined by what they omit as well as include, and the omissions of potential problem definitions, explanations, evaluations, and recommendations may be as critical as the inclusions in guiding the audience.”

in the media

The Wrong Story

sub-heading:
Palestine, Israel, and the Media

“In the face of all of the trash that continues to pass for news and analysis of the Palestine-Israel conflict, Shupak deserves immense praise for working to set the record straight.”

Middle East Eye
£13.38

Add to Cart

Adding to cart… The item has been added

about the book

The Wrong Story lays bare the flaws in the way large media organizations present the Palestine-Israel issue. It points out major fallacies in the fundamental conceptions that underpin their coverage, namely that Palestinians and Israelis are both victims to comparable extents and are equally responsible for the failure to find a solution; that the problem is “extremists”, often religiously-motivated ones, who need to be sidelined in favour of “moderates”; and that Israel’s uses of force are typically justifiable acts of self-defense.

Weaving together the existing literature with new insights, Shupak offers an up-to-date and tightly focused guide that exposes the distorted way these issues are presented and why each is misguided.


Advance Praise

“By refusing the ‘both sides’ narrative Greg Shupak reminds the reader of the asymmetrical relation between the colonizer and the colonized... Distortions, falsifications and omissions, the author asserts, have largely been characteristic of existing media. I highly recommend this book for media students and experts.”

—Nahla Abdo, author, Captive Revolution

“In The Wrong Story, Gregory Shupak powerfully dismantles the mainstream English-language press’ deeply problematic-and false-narrative about Palestine... Give this book both to those interested in learning (or unlearning) about Palestine, and to those eager to learn about deconstructing the media’s lies and, unfortunately, all too often the false framing of the so-called human rights organizations.”

—Rania Masri

“Shupak’s The Wrong Story is a crisply written yet formidable analysis of some of the key tropes underlying media narratives surrounding Palestine-Israel. Neatly organized around the New York Times coverage of Israel’s attacks against the Gaza Strip in 2014, the book powerfully reveals the hidden histories of colonization, dispossession, and occupation. A searing indictment of how the corporate media frames Israeli state policy-and a much needed corrective for all those interested in really understanding the ongoing injustice against the Palestinian people.”

—Adam Hanieh, author Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States

“The unrelenting, decades-long pattern of biased media coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict has had deadly consequences for the Palestinians. Seeing through it requires rigorous study and careful thinking. In The Wrong Story, Greg Shupak demonstrates not only how and why the media are so awful on this issue, but also what coverage of Israel/Palestine reveals about media frames and biases more generally. The result is an invaluable short course on the media.”

—Justin Podur, Professor, York University; author, Haiti’s New Dictatorship

“A powerful and insightful analysis that confronts, challenges and exposes the systematically deceptive frameworks and narratives in English-language mainstream media regarding Palestine and the Palestinian people. Shupak’s careful and precise work lays bare the colonial realities that are routinely evaded by major corporate and official media. It is a necessary tool for researchers, activists, students and all media consumers who wish to understand the reality of occupation, colonization and apartheid in Palestine.”

—Charlotte Kates, International Coordinator, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

“In the tradition of Norman Finkelstein’s work, Shupak uses evidence to challenge three dominant narratives presented by the mainstream media about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He guides readers through media misrepresentation in order to grasp the complex reality of two unequal parties in a situation of occupation. Drawing on the events of 2014, but also the broader context of the conflict, this book is a great teaching tool about the Israeli occupation of Palestine for university students as well as general audiences.”

—Dr. Angela Joya, Department of International Studies, University of Oregon

“Greg Shupak’s book is a nuanced, engaging and accessible deconstruction of the often distorted media narratives around Palestine/Israel. He compels the reader to see beyond simplistic headlines and overly rehearsed soundbites. This is a very welcome and timely intervention.”

—Rafeef Ziadah, University of London, author and performer of We Teach Life

“In his judicious study of corporate media narratives on the Israel-Palestine conflict, Gregory Shupak uncovers and debunks the misleading tropes that have allowed Israel to maintain its military and expansionist policies. Shupak not only deconstructs the media narratives that perpetuate Israel’s illegal and oppressive practices, but links these narratives to the political economy of global capitalism under American hegemony. With a careful and insightful analysis of comparative evidence, Shupak succeeds in recasting the conflict in ways that point towards liberation for all parties interested in peace and justice.”

—Jerome Klassen, University of Massachusetts Boston

About The Author / Editor

Greg Shupak has a PhD in Literary Studies and teaches Media Studies at the University of Guelph in Toronto. His fiction has appeared in a wide range of literary journals and he regularly writes analysis of politics and media for a variety of outlets including Electronic Intifada, In These Times, Jacobin, Literary Review of Canada, Middle East Eye, TeleSUR, This Magazine, and Warscapes.

Read An Excerpt

From the Introduction

after Danez Smith, with a line by Ol’ Dirty Bastard

In each chapter of this book, I demonstrate that the narrative under consideration is both widespread and distorted. Each one misleads, furthermore, in a manner favorable to Israel. The “both sides” narrative identifies a small portion of the injustice done to Palestinians while proportionately inflating the harm done to Israelis. This perspective, moreover, advances a false equivalency between the rights and responsibilities of the colonizers and the colonized. Framing Palestine-Israel in terms of “extremists and moderates” diagnoses the problem of ongoing violence as being a result of Palestinian terrorists and in some cases a fringe of hardline Israelis. Such a view implies that Palestinians resistant to US-Israeli prerogatives are dangerous fanatics as are Israel’s settlers and far right and prescribes the solution of isolating Palestinians who are unwilling to accommodate US-Israeli designs and empowering more pliable Palestinians. This narrative also suggests that the right wing fringes of the Israeli polity are deviations from an otherwise civilized society who can be brought under control by the majority of the country’s ruling class, which is allegedly democratic and peace-seeking. The story of “Israel defending itself” supposes that the question of Palestine is unresolved because of Palestinian attacks, judges Palestinian militant’s engagement in armed conflict to be unjustified and Israel’s involvement to be justified, and advocates solutions characterized by Palestinian surrender and Israeli dominance.

Narratives such as these emerge when an issue is repeatedly covered using the same media frame. “To frame”, according to Robert Entman, “is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item described. Typically frames diagnose, evaluate, and prescribe”. Through these processes, the media send messages about the nature of socio-political problems, their causes, who bears responsibility for them, how conflicts can be resolved, and which parties must take which actions for that to happen. Joseph N. Cappella and Kathleen Hall Jamieson write that “news frames are those rhetorical and stylistic choices, reliably identified in news” which have the capacity to “alter the interpretations of the topics treated and are a consistent part of the news environment”. By taking these approaches, media outlets construct overarching stories about the subject in question.

The stories told about Palestine-Israel are as notable for what they exclude as they are for what they include. Narrative frames, as Entman points out, “are defined by what they omit as well as include, and the omissions of potential problem definitions, explanations, evaluations, and recommendations may be as critical as the inclusions in guiding the audience.”

in the media