A study carried out by Georgia State University's Erin M. Kearns, Allison Betus, and Anthony Lemieux has just shed some light on how much coverage terrorist attacks committed by Muslims get as opposed to others.
Unfortunately, the results are far from reassuring.
The study looked at four years of news coverage, Mintpress News reports. Researchers looked into the LexisNexis Academic database, as well as CNN's website over the years, to find reports of any acts of terrorism.
What they found is that, while Muslims carried out 11 of the 89 attacks listed by the Global Terrorism Database, the 12.4 percent of attacks committed in the name of Islam were the focus of 44 percent of all related coverage.
At least 24 of these attacks received no air time.
Defining 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,” researchers found that attacks with Muslim and foreign-born perpetrators were mentioned in 192.8 articles while attacks caused by Muslim perpetrators were covered in 90.8 articles. All other attacks were mentioned in only 18.1 news reports.
In order to help change the public perception, researchers claimed that “[m]ore representative media coverage” is needed to align the idea people have of terrorism with reality. This is a required change, researchers continued, because ever since the deadly 9/11 attacks, people in America only associate terrorism with Islam. And yet, they wrote, “terrorism comes in many forms.”
Unlike President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May agrees with this sentiment, as she reminded the public that the latest London attack involving a man who plowed his van into several mosque-goers was also a terrorist act.
What was later known as the Finsbury Park mosque attack is “a reminder that terrorism, extremism, and hatred take many forms and our determination to tackle them must be the same, whoever is responsible,” May said. “It was an attack that targeted the ordinary and the innocent.”
On this, she's certainly right.
So with this recent report, will news outlets now begin to report on more terror attacks despite the attacker's background, or will they continue focusing only on Muslim attackers?
Only time will tell.