Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Political Science


Political Science, International Law and Relations.


Tossutti, Livianna,




This study asks if a change in Yasir Arafat's media image in The New York Times coincided with the signing of the first peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (P.L.O.). Evidence suggests that when American decision-makers modify their views on a particular character, they project this new position to the media, which in turn alters the American public's mental picture of the enemy through the newspaper's use of language. This paper examines how all three factors interconnect in the characterization of Arafat in The New York Times in the periods before and after the handshake. Chapter One provides a review of the relevant literature. It assesses the construction and deconstruction of enemy images, as well as the correspondence between how governments, mass media, and the mass public evaluate leaders. Chapter Two outlines the political history of Palestine from the 1900s until 1996. Chapter Three and Four examines the results from frequency and cross tabulation operations on coded material from The New York Times. The results reveal that the newspaper maintained a neutral stance on Arafat before and after the handshake, which was neither analogous to the American government's position or public opinion. The New York Times thus failed to project a change in the manner in which Arafat was portrayed in both time periods. Instead it is argued that when a media outlet places an enormous importance on the subject matter and devotes vast resources to the coverage of a topic, it is able to project its own view which may not be that of policy-makers or the general public. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 39-02, page: 0395. Adviser: Livianna Tossutti. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1998.