LONDON – Though Muslims committed only 12.4 percent of attacks in the US, they received 41.4 percent on news coverage, five times as much media coverage as those attacks carried out by non-Muslims, a new academic study has found.
“When President Trump asserted that the media does not cover some terrorist attacks enough, it turns out that he was correct,” researchers at Georgia State University wrote, The Independent reported on Monday, July 3.
“However, his assertion that attacks by Muslim perpetrators received less coverage is unsubstantiated.
Analysis of coverage of all terrorist attacks in the US between 2011 and 2015 found there was a 449 per cent increase in media attention when the perpetrator was Muslim.
Muslims committed just 12.4 per cent of attacks during the period studied but received 41.4 per cent of news coverage, the survey found.
The authors said the finding suggests the media is making people disproportionately fearful of Muslim terrorists.
“Regardless of other factors, attacks perpetrated by Muslims receive a disproportionate amount of media coverage. In the present data, Muslims perpetrated 12.4 per cent of the attacks yet received 41.4 per cent of the news coverage,” authors wrote.
“Whether the disproportionate coverage is a conscious decision on the part of journalists or not, this stereotyping reinforces cultural narratives about what and who should be feared.
“By covering terrorist attacks by Muslims dramatically more than other incidents, media frame this type of event as more prevalent. Based on these findings, it is no wonder that Americans are so fearful of radical Islamic terrorism. Reality shows, however, that these fears are misplaced.”
The survey found that the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, which was carried out by two Muslim attackers and killed three people, received almost 20 per cent of all coverage relating to US terror attacks in the five-year period.
In contrast, reporting of a 2012 massacre at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that left six people dead and was carried out by Wade Michael Page – a white man, constituted just 3.8 per cent of coverage.
A mass shooting by Dylann Roof, who is also white, at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, killed nine people but received only 7.4 per cent of media coverage, while a 2014 attack by Frazier Glenn Miller on a Kansas synagogue left three dead but accounted for just 3.3 per cent of reports.