Report finds stark disparity in coverage of terror acts
– Half of all US news coverage of 136 terrorist attacks between 2006 – 2015 on ones blamed on Muslims
WASHINGTON (Burma Times) – A report that concludes terrorist attacks blamed on Muslims receive 357 percent more coverage than other groups recirculated after recent terror attacks in New Zealand, which was carried out by a white, non-Muslim male.
The report originally published in January, analyzed U.S. news coverage of 136 terrorist attacks between 2006 and 2015. Despite the fact that Muslims were blamed for just 12 percent of the time, this small fraction of attacks received half of the total media coverage during the nine-year time frame, according to the study.
“Whether the disproportionate coverage is a conscious decision on the part of journalists or not, this stereotyping reinforces cultural narratives about what and who should be feared,” the authors wrote.
The resurfacing of the research comes after a terrorist and white nationalist killed 50 worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand last Friday.
The terrorist released a manifesto prior to the attack in which he spewed anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric, and said he supported U.S. President Donald Trump as a symbol of “white identity”.
The study was authored by Erin M. Kearns of the University of Alabama and Allison E. Betus of Georgia State University, using data from the Global Terrorist Database — an open-source database of terror events from 1970 through 2017.
“The disparities in news coverage of attacks based on the perpetrator’s religion may explain why members of the public tend to fear the ‘Muslim terrorist’ while ignoring other threats,” the study said.
“By covering terrorist attacks by Muslims dramatically more than other incidents, media frame this type of event as more prevalent,” it added. “These findings help explain why half of Americans fear that they or someone they know will be a victim of terrorism and implicitly link terrorism and Islam.”