An examination of how American newspaper articles on Muslims are strikingly negative by any measure. For decades, scholars and observers have criticized negative media portrayals of Muslims and Islam. Yet most of these critiques are limited by their focus on one specific location, a limited time period, or a single outlet. In Covering Muslims, Erik Bleich and A. Maurits van der Veen present the first systematic, large-scale analysis of American newspaper coverage of Muslims through comparisons across groups, time, countries, and topics. The authors demonstrate conclusively that coverage of Muslims is remarkably negative by any measure. They show that American newspapers have been consistently negative across the two-decade period between 1996 and 2016 and that articles on Muslims are more negative than those touching on groups as diverse as Catholics, Jews, Hindus, African Americans, Latinos, Mormons, or atheists. Strikingly, even articles about mundane topics tend to be negative. The authors suggest that media outlets both within and outside the United States may contribute to pervasive Islamophobia and they encourage readers and journalists to tone check the media rather than simply accepting negative associations with Muslims or other marginalized groups.
About the Author
Erik Bleich is Charles A. Dana Professor of Political Science at Middlebury College. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of several books, including The Freedom to Be Racist? How the United States and Europe Struggle to Preserve Freedom and Combat Racism (Oxford University Press, 2011). Hisscholarship has appeared in journals in the fields of political science, communications, sociology, religion, and law, and he has contributed to public discussions in the Atlantic, Financial Times, The Guardian, and The Washington Post. He directs the Media Portrayals of Minorities Project, whichuses computer-assisted techniques to analyze media representations of marginalized groups. A. Maurits van der Veen is Associate Professor of Government at William & Mary. He is the author of Ideas, Interests and Foreign Aid (2011), which examines the framing of spending on foreign populations by European politicians. His work has appeared in journals in political science, communications, and religion, and has been discussed in media outlets such as The Washington Post. He directs the STAIR (Systematic Text Analysis for International Relations) lab at William & Mary, which develops and applies computational social science techniques for the analysis of large corpora of politicaltexts.