It is no secret that bad news sells. Stories about violence, disaster, and scandal are more likely to capture readers’ attention than tales of daily life. Even so, journalists and scholars have argued that Western media coverage of Africa is especially negative. In a 2013 Guardian article, for example, Remi Adekoya accuses the media of “propagating negative stereotypes of Africa as a nest of poverty and problems,” paralleling scholarly claims of disproportionate coverage of danger, darkness, violence, poverty, hopelessness, backwardness, savagery, and primitiveness.
In the weeks since the October 2, 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, news outlets have worked tirelessly to piece together the facts of his death and disprove the lies of the Saudi state. On November 16, 2018 the Washington Post reported the CIA’s conclusion that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, heir to the Saudi throne, had ordered the killing.
Under what circumstances is media coverage of Muslims positive? The answer is, almost none. However, when we examined over 800,000 articles that mentioned Islam or Muslims in dozens of newspapers from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia, we were able to pinpoint one type of article that was marginally positive: articles that mention devotion.
As media coverage and overall visibility of survivors of sexual violence and misconduct has increased in recent months, how has it changed from previous years? And do these changes, if any, reveal a transition in coverage from being episodic to more thematic in nature?
The immigrants we see in the media do not necessarily correspond to the immigrants who come to live with us. In their analysis of the British media, Blinder and Allen show that media reports often write about asylum seekers and “illegal” immigrants. Yet, immigrant workers, family members, and international students constitute by far the numerically larger immigrant flows.
In the midst of the #MeToo movement, we wondered how newspaper coverage of survivors of sexual assault and misconduct has changed over time.
How do major newspapers portray Muslims in comparison to Jews or Catholics? Most scholars find that the media reinforce negative messages about Muslims. But what if all religious groups are depicted in a negative light? We analyzed the tone of over 2,000 headlines about Muslims, Jews, and Catholics from The New York Times and The Guardian to explore how the media cover these groups. This generates two key insights.
In November of 2016, two months after the UN declared a Global Refugee Crisis, the Washington Post published an opinion piece by Mehdi Hasan entitled, “Obsessing over Europe’s refugee crisis while ignoring Africa’s is white privilege at work.”
Media coverage of Muslims is known to be negative. But how negative is it, really? And how has it evolved over time?