Covering Muslims

American Newspapers in Comparative Perspective

By Erik Bleich & A. Maurits van der Veen
Keywords: religious minorities sentiment analysis media coverage

December 14, 2021

Published by

December 14, 2021


We present the first systematic, large-scale analysis of American newspaper coverage of Muslims. By comparing it over time with reporting on other groups and issues as well as coverage of the subject in other countries, we demonstrate conclusively how negative American newspapers have been in their treatment of Muslims across the two-decade period between 1996 and 2016, both in an absolute sense and compared to a range of other groups. The same pattern holds in other countries, such as Australia, Canada, and the UK. While 9/11 did not make coverage more negative in the long run, it did dramatically increase the prevalence of references to terrorism and extremism.

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Table of contents:

  1. Media coverage of Muslims: Introduction and overview
  2. The tone of Muslim coverage
  3. United States newspaper coverage of Muslims: Main patterns and group comparisons
  4. Time and tone: Major events and their impact on coverage
  5. Is the United States unique? Examining newspapers from the Anglophone North and the Global South
  6. What do newspapers talk about when they talk about Muslims?
  7. Conclusions and extensions: Islamophobia, constructing boundaries, and tone-checking the media
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Posted on:
December 14, 2021
1 minute read, 71 words
religious minorities sentiment analysis media coverage
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