The tragic events of September 11, 2001 have negatively influenced not only the American nation itself, but also the Muslim inhabitants that have been peacefully living in the United States for decades and had nothing to do with the vicious plans of the terrorists. The main contributor to the current situation is the media that created negative buzz around the minorities, causing more negative attitudes and hate crimes. Thereafter, the objective of the present paper is to discuss the impact of cable news on the point of view of the American people with specific examples.
The main reason for such a twisted perception is not that the news provides less information about Muslims, but the way it is shown to the viewers. The news is framed and intended to create certain negative stereotypes towards Islamites and Muslims, as only selected episodes are reported, and others are extracted from being aired to the US viewers. Unfortunately, the coverage is so veiled and showed in such a perspective that average people claim that now it is complicated to see the difference between truth and lie. News is not always biased but is put into such explanatory frames that they get out wrong messages into the minds of listeners and viewers, and this is only done with the help of selection of selected topics, languages, and photographs (Amiri 2). For instance, the first six month after the attack the negative news about Muslims were the most frequent, exclusive, stereotypical, and negative. The first anniversary was followed with even more descriptive and thematic coverage in cable news, which led to hate crimes and anti-Islamic riots all over the country. According to certain researchers, the attacks of September 11 have turned the news to become from “overwhelmingly episodic to mostly thematic” (Nacos, and Torees-Reyna 15).
However, as the time passed, situation has not changed much, and negative attitude that comes from certain providers of cable news has not decreased at all. Unfortunately, the statistics shows that in 2010, around 47 % of Americans had favorable attitudes towards Muslims who were not involved in terrorist plans, but the number has dropped to 37 % by 2010. By September 2014, the number has reached 27% that is a very bad sign. It is definitely illustrative example: as America has many Muslims peacefully living on its lands, negative media coverage is trying to worsen their lives. The cable news does not show the position of Muslims who are against radicals - this is not being covered in media. Moreover, news reporters speak about the terrorist conferences, but provide only minor information of those that are denouncing terrorism. These people are almost invisible for the newsmakers, as Muslims represent a very small minority in the United States. Generally speaking, if a person does not have personal connection to Muslims and watches the news taking a dim view of the facts, this will result in a bad attitude towards these minorities (Obeidallah).
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According to the research conducted by Laila Alkahlout, much of negative coverage was also driven towards Muslim women who were negatively portrayed and dehumanized in the media. Such intolerance and negative attitude lead to multiple cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) among Muslim women. The author speaks about certain cable channels, specifically Fox, which was one of the root causes of such negative impact. Her study has showed that around 62% of cable news causes a “negative reactions” and 22% are considered to be “fearful/disparage Muslim women” responses. The latter comments are very common in the Fox articles (Alkahlout 15).
Actually, Fox news has already gained their notorious reputation, as the nation has started to see that they show sharp and often biased information instead of providing viewers with the truthful facts. In 2012, the CNN and Fox news have been intentionally “bombarding” the viewers with the information related to the Muslim Brotherhood (political platform based in Egypt that is initially claimed its only ideological views) with intentional cut of the relevant data. This dwelled to negative perceptions of the given political party though its intentions were not extreme at all. They have become to be associated with such terms as “radical” and “terrorism”. Moreover, Fox cable news has been constantly speaking about Muslim Brotherhood as the pure enemy of all-democratic starting. This would not have been so bad if such “political news” had not been aired during the Egyptian revolution when this country was in a gross stress (Glover).
Nowadays it is already a common knowledge that Fox news and its key journalist Rush Limbaugh have done a lot of bad things in order to facilitate a hate attitude towards Muslims and Islam. Thereafter, the promotion of homophobia, blatant racism, and bigotry is one of the most popular topics on this cable channel. People actually get “brainwashed” and those who watch only Fox news seem to have no relevant knowledge not only about Muslims, but about the whole world and events that are happening every day (Kelley).
In conclusion, it is important to mention that US cable news has played one of the most important roles in shaping the viewer’s attitudes towards Muslims and is the root cause of many hate crimes. Public perception has been changed after September 11 and the certain media resources have been continuously targeting US citizens with incorrect information that stigmatized ordinary and peaceful Muslims in America with wrong perceptions related to radical and terroristic views. This is bitter, as many Muslims have been targeting to take offices on social, economic, and cultural levels. Such events as the prohibition of building Ground Zero Mosque in Manhattan in the last decade serve as a vivid example of the blatant inequity towards the Muslims in the USA (Amiri). Thus, media that forms public opinion and consequently has great strength and influence on the people is to be treated with caution, because, as any other power, there is a great seduction for the media to be biased and cover only the information convenient for them.