Home News Media Covers Terror Attacks More If Perpetrator Is Muslim: Study

Media Covers Terror Attacks More If Perpetrator Is Muslim: Study


Terror attacks receive five times more media coverage if the perpetrator is Muslim as opposed to those carried out by non-Muslims in the US, according to an academic study conducted by researchers from Georgia State University.

Analysis of all terrorist attacks covered by LexisNexis Academic and CNN.com in the US between 2011 and 2015 found “attacks by Muslim perpetrators received, on average, 449% more coverage than other attacks.”

“Regardless of other factors, attacks perpetrated by Muslims receive a disproportionate amount of media coverage. In the present data, Muslims perpetrated 12.4 percent of the attacks yet received 41.4 percent of the news coverage [of terror attacks].”

This approach taken by the media makes people disproportionately fearful of Muslims, said the authors.

“Social identity is the largest predictor of news coverage, while target type, being arrested, and fatalities will also impact coverage,” said the authors.

Muslim vs non-Muslim

Comparing different attacks within the given period, the study suggests the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing received nearly 20 percent of all coverage relating to US terror attacks in the five-year period as it was carried out by two Muslim attackers, killing three people.

But reporting of a 2012 massacre at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin constituted only 3.81 percent of total coverage. The attacker was a white man, Wade Michael Page, who killed six people.

A mass shooting by Dylann Roof, also white, at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina killed nine people in 2015.

It received 7.42 percent of media coverage.

Frazier Glenn Miller’s attack on a Kansas synagogue in 2014 left three dead accounted for just 3.27 percent of reports.

“These attacks have three things in common: the perpetrator was a white man and the targets were both religious and minority groups,” the study stipulated.