Shaul R. Shenhav and Tamir Sheafer. 2008. “FROM INTER-PARTY DEBATE TO INTER-PERSONAL POLEMIC.” Party Politics, 14, Pp. 706 -725. Publisher's Version


In this article, we analyse the media coverage of party disputes during the first 16 Israeli election campaigns, i.e. in the period 1949 to 2003. Based on a content analysis of newspaper coverage of the two main parties (Labor and Likud) and a qualitative discourse analysis, we maintain that the media coverage of party disputes has undergone major change. From 1949 to 1959 the vast majority of reported disputes reflected external, inter-party debates. From 1961 the level of external debates decreased, while the level of internal, intra-party debates sharply increased. These findings reflect a significant change in the role of 'the party' as a category in the Israeli media's political discourse. The party ceased to be a unitary actor in the political arena and became an arena for political disputes. The dynamic change in party coverage has gone through three main phases: an ideological and collective phase of an external-partisan era during the first decade; an interim phase led by a c