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Media Bias: Attacks by Muslims receive 4.5 times more coverage than those by non-Muslims

WASHINGTON: It is not all that surprising that “terror attacks” carried out by Muslim in United States received more media coverage than those committed by non-Muslims.

You won’t see label ‘terrorists’ and thugs used…as quickly when the person isn’t “[Muslim].”

New research from Erin Kearns and colleagues at Georgia State University shows that despite the fact that Muslims commit far fewer terrorist attacks than non-Muslims, US media coverage increases on average, 449% when the perpetrator is Muslim.

“A perpetrator who is not Muslim would have to kill on average about seven more people to receive the same amount of coverage as a perpetrator who’s Muslim, “Kearns says.

“Whether intentional or not, US media outlets disproportionately emphasise the smaller number of terrorist attacks by Muslims – leading Americans to have an exaggerated sense of that threat,” the researchers said.

“Given the disproportionate quantity of news coverage for these attacks, it is no wonder that people are afraid of the Muslim terrorist”- Research report by Georgia State University.

As a part of the study, the academics found that Muslims carried out 11 of the 89 attacks (12.4 percent) in the United States between 2011 and 2015, as listed in the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) which defines terrorism as “the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation.”

“Since the 11 September 2001, attacks, when most people in the United States hear the word ‘terrorism,’ they think of Muslims,” the researchers wrote in the Washington Post. “But terrorism comes in many forms.”

The team — academics Erin M. Kearns, Allison Betus, and Anthony Lemieux examined media coverage from LexisNexis Academic and CNN.com to decipher how much coverage was given to each attack.

Of the 89 attacks, some 24 attacks by non-Muslims receive zero media coverage from the sources.

The small proportion (only 12 per cent) of attacks that were by Muslims received 44 per cent of the news coverage.

The study showed the attack with a Muslim perpetrator is covered in 90.8 articles, those with foreign-born Muslim perpetrator are covered in 192.8 articles on average and other attacks received an average of 18.1 articles.

“More representative media coverage could help to bring public perception of terrorism in line with reality,” the study further noted.