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Arabs in the Media: Victim or Villain?

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Arabs in the Media: Victim or Villain?

For decades, the media portrayal of the Arab culture and Islam has contributed to a skewed public opinion in America. Looking closely at the news coverage concerning the Middle East and the United States, there is an inherent media bias against Arabs and Muslims as foreign threats to domestic security. Stephen Franklin argues that "Islamic nations are often portrayed in news reports as uniformly intolerant and anti-democratic" (Franklin 17). Unfortunately, such coverage has contributed to the public and government misconceptions of all Arabs and Muslims as terrorists. According to Fawaz Gerges, "terrorism has emerged as one of the most important political issues in the United States...[linking] it to Islamic militancy..." (Gerges 79). Moreover, the media's skewed depiction of the Arabs and Muslims has perpetuated countless stereotypes that undoubtedly affect the American opinion. These stereotypes and misconceptions of the Arabs and Muslims clearly indicate a media bias provoked by ignorance and ethnocentricity. The elite media's role in the portrayal of the Arab culture and Islam following the Oklahoma City bombing has had adetrimental effect on America's public opinion, investigation proceedings, and government action.

Once word of the Oklahoma City bombing reached the Associated Press and major American publications, journalists were quick to point the finger of guilt at Muslim fundamentalism. The Western perspective of the Middle East is a dark one. The Muslims are looked at as ruthless and barbaric people, inclined to kill and destroy. Steven Emerson, a so-called expert featured on CBS Evening News, "suggested that there [must] be some inherent cultural trait behind...

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Works Cited

Bazzi, Mohamad. "The Arab Menace", The Progressive. Vol 59, n8. August 1995. P40.

Franklin, Stephen. "Covering the World of Muslims", Columbia Journalism Review. Vol 33, Iss 5. Jan 1995. p17

Gerges, Fawaz A. "Islam and Muslims in the Mind of America: Influences on the Making of US Policy", Journal of Palestine Studies. Vol XXVI, no2. Winter 1997, p68-77.

Hernandez, Debra Gersh. "Religious Stereotyping By The Media", Editor & Publisher. Vol 117, Iss 36. 3 Sept 1994. p16-17. Lacayo, Richard. "How Safe is Safe?". Time. 1 May 1995. p68-72.

Rosewicz, Barbara. "Terrorism Hits Home: US Building Bombed; Dead Include Children". The Wall Street Journal. 20 April 1995. A1, A6

. Thomas, Pierre and Ann Devroy. "Clinton Condemns 'Evil Cowards' for Blast". The Washington Post. 20 April 1995. A1, A24.
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