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Media Audience Essay

2229 words - 9 pages

We live in an age and time where media influence is at its highest. The media has an impact on us as an audience through every possible medium including both television and print media. As scientists find and cure diseases, as America finds a new country to invade, as the European markets fluctuate, there has been one constant subject prevalent in the Western media- Islam. 1.6 billion people in the world are of the Muslim religion (Desilver 2013), making it the world’s second largest religion, second to Christianity. Even prior to the events of 9/11, the religion of Islam has been under scrutiny by the media. Edward Said, infamous for his works on Orientalism has greatly contributed to our ...view middle of the document...

To be precise, on the front page of the October 7 newspaper there was a front page story in which The Sun claimed a “Muslim hate mob” were responsible for a vandalizing a house in Windsor. After investigation it was found that in fact that the people responsible for the attack were not Muslim and had nothing to do with Islam “they didn’t even look remotely Muslim” (Osborne 2008), but the vandalism had to do with the arrival of four Calvary officers. Here is only one example of Islamophobia; that has not only had an effect on Muslims in Windsor but has resonated in the United Kingdom and has affected the treatment of Muslims worldwide. This exaggerated fear and hostility towards Islam and Muslims is propagated by negative stereotypes, discrimination which results in bias and the ostracizing of Muslims from social, political and civic life (The Religion of Peace).
Due to the scope of this issue, it has become a common and relevant topic in the media. For instance, in the United Kingdom in 1997 The Runnymede Trust in reported that there were eight components to Islamophobia. This report was created four years prior to the 9/11 attack and it is clear that even before the event there was wide spread misconceptions about the subject. Post 9/11, the trust ran another report in 2004 reporting the hardships Muslims had to face-particularly in the U.K and the U.S. It found that the terrorist attacks made life even more difficult from British Muslims. Providing furthermore evidence, Elizabeth Poole has found that the U.K’s media’s focus on Muslims is a relationship based on inclusion and exclusion (Pool2 2009). She conducted a study in 2002, to find the effects of the Media and British Muslims. In her report, she accurately concluded that the media, especially television media has helped promote “an ethnocentric vision dominates current representations of Islam which are reductive and predominately negative” (Poole 2002:240).
This project is based solely on audience research and opinions on Islamophobia and the media. The underlying question is whether or not audience finds Islamophobia as an issue as an issue. As earlier explained, there have been several forms of research and reports on this topic, but this project will look exclusively at television media. To help facilitate audience responses and make it easier for participants to understand what it required of them, there are three news channels that will be examined for their portrayal of Islam. The three channels are all news broadcasting channels: the CNN, BBC, and Aljazeera. The three news channels have been chosen because of their diverse political standpoints, and their reputation among audiences. CNN is based in Seattle, Washington while the BBC is based in London and Aljazeera is based in Qatar. Qatari based news channel, Aljazeera has once claimed that “CNN, is amongst the most anti-Muslim news channel” (Aljazeera 2003). Already forming an opinion, while some believe that due to...

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