Term Paper: Religion and the Media

Sample Term Paper

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This is an excerpt from a term paper on religion and the media. The prevalence of typecasts to characterize and demonize Muslims and Arabs has been accepted well (Shaheen 38). The reason why many Arab and Muslim Americans are discriminated against is because many people probably think of the ‘TV-Arab’ image. Although Hollywood movies, television shows, and well-liked fiction have long dwelled on stereotypical representation of Arabs and Muslims.

The prevalence of typecasts to characterize and demonize Muslims and Arabs has been accepted well (Shaheen 38). The reason why many Arab and Muslim Americans are discriminated against is because many people probably think of the ‘TV-Arab’ image. Although Hollywood movies, television shows, and well-liked fiction have long dwelled on stereotypical representation of Arabs and Muslims, one would not necessarily expect similar classifying, framing patterns and cliché in the news. However, accepted culture and news reporting are not in use in a vacuum but appear to feed on each other. Drawing on the depiction of Middle-Easterners in crime fiction, Reeva Simon traced links between thrillers and crime novels on one hand and current news on the other and concluded:

Middle Easterners will continue to populate the casts of villains and conspirators    in popular fiction because authors know that today, after watching the evening news and reports of bombed American embassies, kidnapped or killed diplomats, and the latest exploits of religious fanatics, the public will readily read about Middle Eastern conspirators and that books about the area will sell. (Simon 140).

Years ago, with the Iranian Hostage Crisis fresh in mind, Edward Said wrote about the collapse of the American media and U.S. experts to know and clarify the Arab and Muslim world. In particular, he asserted, that

Muslims and Arabs are essentially covered, discussed, apprehended either as suppliers of oil or as potential terrorists. Very little of the detail, the human density, the passion of Arab-Muslim life has entered the awareness of even those people whose profession it is to report the Islamic world (Said  26).

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