Yes, Muslims are depicted adversely in American media
(The Discussion) — The cozy welcome Americans and also Europeans have actually offered Ukrainians in 2022 contrasts greatly with the unequal — and also often hostile — policies toward Syrian refugees in the mid-2010s.
Political researcher David Laitin has actually highlighted the duty that spiritual identifications play in this dynamic. As he explained in a current interview, Syrian evacuees were “primarily Muslim and also dealt with greater levels of discrimination than will certainly the Ukrainians, that are greatly of Christian heritage.”
The media give info that forms such mindsets towards Muslims. A 2007 Pew Research Center survey of Americans located that individuals’s adverse point of views on Muslims were primarily affected by what they listened to and also reviewed in the media. Communications scholar Muniba Saleem and also coworkers have demonstrated the web link in between media info and also “stereotypic ideas, adverse feelings and also assistance for damaging plans” towards Muslim Americans.
To much better realize the advancement of media representations of Muslims and also Islam, our 2022 book, “Treatment Muslims: American Papers in Relative Viewpoint,” tracked the tone of numerous hundreds of short articles over years.
We located extremely adverse insurance coverage, not just in the USA yet likewise in the UK, Canada and also Australia.
Adverse insurance coverage of Muslims
Previous study has actually recognized prevalent adverse media depictions of Muslims. An overview of research studies taken on from 2000 to 2015 by interactions scholars Saifuddin Ahmed and also Jörg Matthes wrapped up that Muslims were adversely mounted in the media which Islam was often cast as a terrible faith.
Yet the research studies they examined leave open 2 pushing inquiries that we deal with with our study.
Initially, do short articles discussing Muslims and also Islam consist of even more adverse depictions than the typical news article? Second, are media representations of Muslims a lot more adverse than short articles discussing various other minority faiths?
If tales concerning minority spiritual teams made it to the information just when they were associated with dispute somehow, after that they might be adverse for factors that are general to Muslims.
What we located
To address these inquiries, we utilized media data sources such as LexisNexis, Nexis Uni, ProQuest and also Factiva to download and install 256,963 short articles discussing Muslims or Islam – for which we make use of the shorthand “Muslim short articles” – from 17 nationwide, local and also tabloid papers in the USA over the 21-year duration from Jan. 1, 1996, to Dec. 31, 2016.
We created a trustworthy approach for determining the positivity or negative thoughts of tales by contrasting them to the tone of an arbitrary example of 48,283 short articles concerning subjects attracted from a vast array of papers. An unfavorable worth on this range suggests that a tale is adverse about the typical news article.
Most importantly, this technique likewise gave a standard for extra contrasts. We accumulated collections of short articles from U.S. papers associating not just to Muslims, yet likewise independently to Catholics, Jews and also Hindus, 3 minority spiritual teams of differing dimension and also standing in the USA. We after that constructed tales connected to Muslims from a wide variety of papers in the U.K., Canada and also Australia.
Our main searching for is that the typical short article discussing Muslims or Islam in the USA is a lot more adverse than 84% of short articles in our arbitrary example. This suggests that a person would likely need to check out 6 short articles in U.S. papers to discover also one that was as adverse as the typical short article discussing Muslims.
To offer a concrete feeling of just how adverse common Muslim short articles are, take into consideration the list below sentence that has the tone of the typical Muslim short article: “The Russian was made to think by covert representatives that the contaminated product was to be supplied to a Muslim company.” This has 2 extremely adverse words (“covert” and also “contaminated”) and also indicates that the “Muslim company” has dubious objectives.
Articles that pointed out Muslims were likewise far more most likely to be adverse than tales discussing any kind of various other team we took a look at. For Catholics, Jews and also Hindus, the percentage of favorable and also adverse short articles was close to 50-50. By comparison, 80% of all short articles associated with Muslims were adverse.
The aberration stands out. Our job reveals that the media are not susceptible to releasing adverse tales when they blog about various other minority faiths, yet they are likely to do so when they blog about Muslims.
Unrivaled insurance coverage throughout teams, we were likewise thinking about insurance coverage throughout nations. Maybe the USA is one-of-a-kind in its extremely adverse insurance coverage of Muslims. To figure out, we accumulated 528,444 short articles discussing Muslims or Islam from the exact same period from a variety of papers in the U.K., Canada and also Australia. We located that the percentage of adverse to favorable short articles in these nations was virtually precisely the like that in the USA.
Ramifications of adverse insurance coverage
Multiple scholars have actually revealed that adverse tales produce much less beneficial mindsets towards Muslims. Various other research studies that checked out the influence of adverse info concerning Muslims likewise located an increase in support for plans that damage Muslims, such as secret monitoring of Muslim Americans or using drone assaults in Muslim nations.
On top of that, surveys of young American Muslims have actually located that adverse media insurance coverage led to weak recognition as American and also in reduced rely on the U.S. federal government.
Our company believe recognizing and also attending to the systemic negative thoughts in media insurance coverage of Muslims and also Islam is essential for responding to prevalent stigmatization. This might, consequently, develop chances for even more gentle plans that are reasonable to every person despite their belief.
(Erik Bleich is the Charles A. Dana Teacher of Government at Middlebury University. A. Maurits van der Veen is an associate teacher of federal government at William & Mary College. The sights shared in this discourse do not always show those of Faith Information Solution.)