Social Construction of Terrorism in the Mass Media

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Social Construction of Terrorism in the Mass Media by Mind Map: Social Construction of Terrorism in the Mass Media

1. Said: Colonialism and European history have tainted cross-culture attitudes

1.1. Western = civilised, others = barbaric

2. Who Defines Terrorism

2.1. Government

2.2. Sean Hannity: 'The difference difference, my friends, between Israel and the Arab world is the difference between civilisation and barbarism'

2.3. The Media, 90% of which is owned by 5 Corporations

2.3.1. sensationalization and stereotyping of Muslims due largely to the lack of education given to people with regard to global issues and events especially those which are directly involved with us foreign policy. as well as this there is the issue of mass media and the subsequent religious/cultural witch hunt which occurs after any incident involving someone who has ties to islam or is a practicing muslim.

2.3.2. Creating flase stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims being 'uncivilized' and 'violent

2.3.3. And thus if the big five decide on a line that condems the islamic faith and those that follow it we will surely see a trickle down in social and therefore political thought.

2.3.4. images portrayed in entertainment (E.g Hollywood) Movies usually portray muslims and arabs as 'barbaric' do not usually portray muslim as heroic or "good" character building the stereotype Cartoons and Movies for kids begin defining stereotypes from a very young age. One of the biggest corporations in media, Disney, even adds to islamaphobia with movies like Aladdin (pg. 302)

2.3.5. 232 Media Executives control the information diet of 277 million Americans... problems?

2.3.6. Americans rarely watch foreign news or media outlets which severely reduces the amount of correct information being taken in. Al Jazeera for example. Much of the media and news people watch have some sort of propaganda making people think a certain way and teach others these mislead ideas. After hearing of an event or situation people are quick to make assumptions and believe whatever comes from media due to lack of knowledge and without doing there own research.

3. What are the Implications towards US domestic and foreign policy and Society

3.1. Profiling and Discrimination

3.1.1. Domestic bombings in the US carried out by white populations are not seen as terrorist attacks. ( only when muslims are involved. e.g Oklahoma city bombing The same can be said of crimes,unlike when a white male commits a crime, when any kind of high profile crime is committed by a muslim it is seen as a representation of their entire religion and peoples, indeed their entire belief system is portrayed as reflected by this single act. this is the case when the individual may not even be muslim rather they may just be of middle eastern decent such is the ingrained islamophobia prevalent in the US.

3.1.2. 'Arab Other' 'At the same time, these claims absolve the U.S. government from responsibility for the very policy decisions—especially the decision to go to war—that give rise to anti-American sentiment in the first place.' - p.304

3.2. Misinformed society

3.2.1. Disproportionate fears with regard to likelihood of falling victim to a terrorist attack add further fuel to the media fear mongering fire. "perceptions have Consequences". possible evidence of american social exceptionalism. Republican debates: all candidates emphasised terror as major threat to Americans

3.2.2. Western state sponsered warfare is seen as legal

3.3. Detrimental foreign policy based on misinformation

3.3.1. Politician using witch-hunt strategy to rile supporters and gain further popularity We've seen this before in post ww2 foreign policy with regard to the Red Scare and McCarthyism.

3.4. Indifference to civilian losses in Arab and Muslim countries out of fear and mistrust.

3.4.1. Breeds more terrorism: a young man who loses his family and village to a US drone strike is within his rights to want revenge Nature of asymmetric warfare, weaker forces unable to wage war by conventional means. Freedom Fighter vs Terrorist dichotomy

3.5. 'War on Terror' requires absolute definition of terrorism.. We can't allow it to simply mean 'some muslims'

4. Orientalism and cultural misconceptions

5. important to acknowledge just how little the students (the ones referred to in the article) were aware of how much their opinions were moulded and manipulated by the media. this could be key in attempting to amend the social thought surrounding the perception of muslims in both society and media.

5.1. When you are unaware of what percent of information that you consume is manipulated you will not understand or be aware that you are being mislead, and this allows people to argue without a real point or topic to defend


7. Combating false perceptions of terrorism and Islam

7.1. The benefits of teaching about Islamaphobia

7.1.1. Feedback

7.1.2. informed members of society.

7.1.3. ability to read beyond text

7.1.4. One key reason in regard to the way muslims are viewed by young people in american society is their lack of knowledge (or desire for knowledge) about current events outside of the united states esp those occurring in the middle east. This ignorance accounts for a vast amount of the negative stereotyping and dehumanization of muslims worldwide.

7.1.5. This would give better understanding of islam and help both sides cooperate



7.2. Education

7.2.1. Challenging individuals to think more critically when it come to dealing with issues involving race, religion and terrorism.

7.2.2. Learning the origins of 'Terrorism The US Army found that there are over 100 definitions for terrorism in the US. (pg. 300) This leaves the definition of terrorism under a broad spectrum so many people can define people, muslims, as terrorist.

7.2.3. Redefine terrorism as a socially constructed phenomenon, moving away from its relation to just Muslims groups like Al-Aqeeda represent less than 1% of the 1.6 Billion muslim population

7.2.4. Realize the difference between social groups, i.e Arabs and Muslims There are various sects and types of muslims all with slightly varying beliefs, so muslims can not all be grouped under one group

7.2.5. Need 'media literacy' lessons promotes new generations (i.e. the students of today) capability for critical media literacy, and thus their ability to create a new media.

7.2.6. Independent research instead of relying on media and the same outlets of news that feed people manipulated information people should research events on their own and actually find out the history The issue revolving islamophobia is a long evolving one that can not be isolated into one event but that history has lead up to with a combination of factors

7.2.7. muslim people should educate themselves on this matter because you can not defend yourself or religion if you are not aware of current events and reasoning After gaining the information muslims should help inform and teach their peers and others the truth and all the misconceptions behind the religion The religion of Islam is a peaceful one and is forgiving of all people and if more people understood the religion they would understand the people

7.2.8. There are many stereotypes revolving islam because many people are misinformed of the practices, and media shows certain values and beliefs in a negative light and doesn't show reasoning


7.3. Media

7.3.1. Recognizing the media's ability to give false or misleading information. Media usually portrays muslims and arabs as violent and usually will not portray them as a peaceful or caring people so to warp the minds of viewers

7.3.2. Important to analyze media and be aware of source and intent Corporate Media vs Independent media. corporate media has a financial or political motive independent media shares true daily life stories

7.3.3. Challenge students to move beyond simply blaming the media to actively transform and create texts. This leads to muslims being falsely accused of things and getting angry which therefor starts the process up and gives the US the chance to say these people are "innately dangerous" (Pg. 305)

7.3.4. Display both sides of the media to show how propaganda can fuel negative sterotypes. uses example of Collins's 2000 book "Black Feminist Thought" and how it highlights the way in which the negative stereotypes surrounding black women have been reinforced by the media. crimes that happen in the US against the government or others with a political goal isn't usually labeled as domestic terrorist

7.3.5. Identify ideological or profit motives,

7.3.6. When a few isolated incidents happen the american media builds it up and adds connections to make it something in their advantage

7.3.7. Since 2001 Americans have voted terrorism as the most serious social issues consistently In 2001 more people died of car accidents than in the september 11th attack Media tends to point out the more rare but popular subjects rather than the relevant and unpopular in 2012 35% of people feared a family member would be harmed in a terrorist attack, these statistics are horribly exaggerated





7.4. Political

7.4.1. Help individuals understand the political ideologies of terrorism and how it is subjective to whom side you are on.

7.4.2. Understanding the power of Political leaders labeling a foreign-based individuals as "terrorist" and not domestic hate groups.

7.4.3. Displaying the contrasting differences between the US and its allies when waging political violence against civilians in foreign nations abroad and not being labeled as "terrorist". Understanding the difference between terrorism and militarism. and therefore having to make a clear and succinct distinction between the concept of terrorists and terrorism. Many US troops that went in to one of these middle eastern nations under attack have committed crimes against civilians and not only military.

7.4.4. Focusing on Non-Military responses to terrorism whilst also admitting guilt as to why it escalated to military force in the first place, e.g. the government sponsoring of Bin Laden. many american drone attacks kill families in the middle east, and they must admit to these things. when the US directs attacks towards the muslim word on false pretenses this fuels fire to the so called "terrorism" going on

7.4.5. 'When enemies of the United States - whether political groups or nation states - wage politically motivated violence against US civilians it is often called a terrorist act' p.298 'Yet when the US government or its allies inflict similar acts of civilians abroad, it is dubbed as an act of retaliation or counter terrorism' P298

7.4.6. US foreign policy towards the middle east is the "war on terror" but there is terror all around the world US justifies going into Iraq as them having weapons of mass destruction but failed to find any. What country wouldn't be infuriated if falsely accused of something by another nation and being invaded and everything destroyed. This leads to mistrust and hatred towards the nation that barged in. Over time the foreign policy of the US has lead to terrorism with the funding and training of the mujahadeen Hostile ideas are passed down through history and lead to violent acts. It is rare that people know the true origins of "terrorists" and terrorism.