The centuries old conflict between Israel and Palestine has reared its ugly head in the main stream media again.
The conflict began in the late 1800s when a group from Europe, known as the “Zionists,” decided to colonize a section of Palestinian land. This group represented a small minority of the Jewish population, approximately 4 percent, in a country where 86 percent of people were Muslim and 10 percent were Christian.
The current problem stems from issues that are hundreds of years old. Israelis and Palestinians are fighting for the same land. The current crisis has led to terrorist attacks, limited food and water supplies, beatings and murders.
This crisis fits the mold for the “motives of the user” because it satisfies the “uses and gratification approach.” Such an approach suggests readers consume the media to fulfill a particular purpose. With this story, a reader may feel more educated about worldly happenings, and in turn, enhance “the water cooler effect” and talk about it to peers and colleagues.
With the explosion of journalism on the internet, it isn’t surprising that the story has been closely followed by social media sites. When a journalist goes on assignment, they will often post live updates via Twitter and Facebook. This rapid-fire news delivery establishes a personal relationship between the writer and reader.
Anderson Cooper, a well-known CNN reporter, has been covering the current uprising of the Israel-Palestine conflict. While reporting in Gaza, Cooper posted several tweets describing action as it happened.
Journalists who cover such stories can only expect to receive criticism when it comes to their reporting or delivery styles.
Recently, Cooper got himself into a bit of trouble when he fired back at Twitter followers who made such criticisms.
A woman, @Pamela_Weiss, asked Cooper to “Report a fair story. Report facts. Why not talk about the rockets being fired FROM Gaza?!?” To this, Cooper replied, “ummmm…. I just did that and have been doing that repeatedly on twitter and on tv. Do you actually think before you tweet?” and “@Pamela_Weiss perhaps spend less time tweeting about coconut flan and more time actually following the news.”
In a separate instance, @Rabbi_Sykes tweeted, “May just stop watching #CNN. Now @andersoncooper almost apologized for #Hamas dragging a dead ‘Spy’ for #Israel & yelling God is great! Oy!” Cooper again responded inappropriately and said, “@Rabbi_Sykes excuse me, but how am I apologizing for Hamas by reporting them dragging a body through the streets? That is deeply offensive.”
Then a third time, a critic named @RetireLeo attacked Cooper’s sexual orientation and posted, “Didn’t Cooper admit he was gay, if so let’s let the Paelstians know and see what happens.” Cooper retaliated, “wow, tough words from an anon Internet troll. why not use your name and photo, coward? Have some more fritos and keep typing.”
Although Cooper’s defensive remark after being slammed for his sexual orientation is understandable, the other two were just plain unprofessional. When a journalist finds him or herself under the light of fame, criticism has to be expected. There is no possible way for everyone to like your writing.
It is arguably unprofessional to even respond to critiques on Twitter or other social media sites. A journalist has a job to inform the general public about news stories, and the emergence of social media has made this job faster and easier. This new technology does not erase a journalists duty to remain professional.