This is the summary of a conference devoted to perceptions of Israel in the American media. It brought together journalists, academics, government officials and community relations specialists from Israel and the United States. It met in the aftermath of the disappointment among Israelis and American Jews in how the American media reported Israel's war in Israel's 1982 war in Lebanon. Yet, sufficient time had elapsed that the conference dwelled relatively little on that war. Instead, almost all the discussion addressed long-term trends in the news media, in the Middle East, and in news coverage of the area.
The conference reached no conclusions, achieved no general meeting of minds. Rather it stimulated engagement among a variety of conflicting views on such questions as whether press coverage of the Middle East is distorted, and if so, why; whether Israel is singled out for special treatment by the press; whether coverage of Israel has grown less favorable, and if so, whether this is due to changes in the media or changes in Israel; and what, if anything, can be done to improve the situation, if indeed a problem exists. This report aims to distill out the main points of these discussions.