American Media Representation of Islam and Terrorism Term Paper

Pages: 8 (3949 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Terrorism

AMERICAN MEDIA REPRESENTATION of ISLAM & TERRORISM POST-9-11 in AMERICA: ARE THEY the ONE and the SAME?

The objective of this work is to prepare a research proposal that will reflect how the American media (print, broadcast and online) portrays Islam's connection to terrorism post 9/11 in research focusing on "When an average American audience picks up the morning paper and reads an article about terrorism on the front page - what are the first two things that pop into their minds? (1) Muslim extremists; and (2) the September 11, 2001 attacks on America and to answer the question of: "Why is this? It is the position of the researcher that this is due to the one-sidedness of the American media, where America is portrayed as the victim of 9/11.

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Term Paper on American Media Representation of Islam & Terrorism Assignment

Practically each morning since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States the morning paper is laden with fearful projections, Islam phobia and the vulnerability of the United States taking up the headlines. It seems that this media blitz is designed for the purpose of striking dread in the hearts of American citizens with a focus on the 'evil' that exists in the Muslim countries and within the religion of Islam. Islam is portrayed as a religion that is set actively against the United States with evil intent of destruction at each and every turn whether it be via airlines, railways, at border-crossings and whether through the method of biochemical attacks, suitcase bombs, or other means of penetrating the 'oh so vulnerable' security of the United States. However, one must wonder how realistic this view actually is. It seems that the American media and particularly the mainstream American media is intent on keeping American citizens in a constant state of frenzy and fear of the third-world Muslim countries and that the media seizes upon every possible opportunity to propel the American public toward fearful trepidation of the next terrorist attack on the American homeland and this research asks the questions of why that this is so, and to what end the American mainstream media works so diligently to instill fear in the hearts and lives of American citizens? Never before in the history of the United States has the media been so diligently adherent to the policies of the Washington administration and at the same time the mainstream media has completed abdicated its' role in reporting all viewpoints and sides of the story as related to terrorism. With embedded reporters the war in the country of Iraq has proceeded and those reporters who dared to venture into Iraq without the 'benefit' of being 'embedded' by the present administration have suffered many fates from death, such as the Reuters reporter shot dead by American troops, to kidnapping and disappearance without a trace. What is the driver behind the media control being witnessed in the United States? What is the expected result of an administration that is so intent on keeping American citizens in fear of Muslim countries that are very far away from the United States mainland?

STATEMENT of the PROBLEM

The purpose of the research proposed herein is the investigation of the mainstream media in the United States in the manner and method used to report the events following the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States. News reports have recently reported that one in every three American citizens believe that the government was complicit in the attack on the World Trade Towers in New York City. Other reports run across the Internet which speak of a massive sum of money that disappeared somewhere in the Arab countries simultaneous to the attack of New York's Twin Towers, and yet even other reports state that it was a military plane that hit the towers instead of a passenger jet. This research cannot hope to answer all of those questions however the research that is proposed does seek to understand the media's method and intent in the style and manner of reporting that has been used in the post 9-11 period and the effect that reporting has had upon the citizens of the United States.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Paul Thompson and his team of researchers who joined at the Cooperative Research Center to attempt to organize the events chronologically that occurred on September 11, 2001 in the work entitled: "The Terror Timeline: Year-by-Year, Day-by-Day, Minute-by- Minute - a Comprehensive Chronicle of the Road to 9/11 - and America's Response" makes a solid effort in piecing together the events that occurred leading up to, during and following the attacks on the United States as well as pointing out discrepancies and mistakes made by the administration in Washington.

In the work entitled: Media Influences Perception of Terrorism, but Fails to sway Action by the Public" reported is a "national survey of 1,000 Americans" which gives indication that approximately 2/3 of respondents "feel the media has influenced their views on the importance of terrorism as a national problem." 9 Jimirro Center for the Study of Media Influence at Penn State University) the report reveals that "Americans view about the threat of terrorism are shaped at least in part by the media...however, we have not found that the news media are effective in motivating preparedness behaviors." (2003) the study states the following: (1) 65% of respondents state the media reports have shaped their views about the terrorism problem; (2) 29.2% respondent that media reports have 'exerted alot of influence on their views; (3) 35.3% stated that the media's terrorism coverage has had 'quite a bit of influence' on their perceptions of terrorism as a national problem; (4) 87% stated belief that the terrorism problem is 'very' or 'extremely' important; and (5) 7.9% stated the terrorism problem as being unimportant." (Penn State College of Communications, 2003)

When the President gave his speed on the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States Stannard of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that: "Three things can be expected from Bush's speech, according to a new study by three Columbia University researchers: The media will repeat the president's remarks. Public fear of terrorism will increase. And the president's poll numbers will rise." (2006) This is not conjecture but the findings of political scientists Brigitte Nacos, Yaeli Bloch-Elkon and Robert Shapiro in a report "prepared for this month's annual meeting of the American Political science Association." (Stannard, 2006) Stated is: "The real new thing here is the mere threat, heavily mass mediated, achieves at least part of what actual terrorism achieves," Nacos said. "(Terrorists) want to intimidate, they want to spread fear and anxiety, and they want to take influence through the public on government officials. Much of the Columbia team's research focused on the press -- especially the television media -- and how it reacted to threats of terrorism."

In the work of Joakim Nisson, which is a review of the work entitled "The Case of Media Bias" published in the Press Bias and Politics - How the Media Frame Controversial Issues" publication a Praeger Series in Political Community written by Jim a. Kuypers sated is that: "outside of Academia, a harsh and seemingly ever-growing debate has appeared, concerning how the mass media is distorting the political agenda. In much the same manner as the manufacturing consent theory Jim a. Kyupers notes, referring to studies made by Irving Kristol, that there is an important symbiosis between the national press and the political elite. However, far from the Chomskyan perspective, Kuypers raises important arguments about how we may have to limit the implications of such a relationship between established political elites. Kuypers states that even though a vast majority of journalists in the United States declare to be pro-Democrats, this doesn't imply that they can't take part in fair and balanced news reporting." (2002)

Stated in the work entitled: "Engineering Consent: The Renaissance of Mass Communications Research in Politics" is that: "Media politics is now central while the importance of political institutions traditionally entrusted with organizing and aggregating public preferences (political parties and interest groups) have correspondingly declined in importance. Today, the use -- even manipulations 00 of the mass media to promote political objectives is not only standard practice, but in fact is essential to survival. The new engineers of consent are not party or interest group leaders, but the legion of pundits and spokespersons that make their daily rounds on television news programs and the editorial pages of our newspaper." For a number of Americans, "the news media represent the sole point of contact with the world of public affairs." (Iyengar, 2001) Stated is that "at the very least, we can attest to two classes of media effects on public opinion which are (1)."..a salvaging hypothesis in the dialectic account of the search for media influence in the work of McGuire (1986) which "may be termed agenda control of media-induced changes in the public's political priorities; and (2)."..a direct extension of the classic McGuire studies on attitude change, and corresponds to direct political persuasion."… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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