Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Interpreting Media Portrayals of Islam and Judaism


In week 8 we will seek to interpret different media portrayals of Islam and Judaism, by comparing and contrasting how Muslims and Jews have been framed by mass media outlets. We will specifically look at news coverage of Jewish and Muslims groups.  Our first reading is a book chapter by Aslam Abdallah that looks at journalistic post 9/11 media and Muslim identity in American media.  We will also read and reflect on Yoel Cohen’s study of Israeli media coverage considering how news values and cultural belief frame coverage of religious stories about Judaism in the press. Together these help us identify the common narrative and essentialist notions of religion often communicated in press coverage about these religious traditions.

10 comments:

Rachel Ann said...

When reading the first article, I was thinking about a similar comparison to the idea that "all Muslim are terrorist or extremist" notion. The Westboro Baptist church which is essentially a hate group, known for their hate for homosexuals, and protesting at the funeral of fallen military. Many people have already made up their mind about Islam and who and what they think they stand for, but I think it's only fair to assume that we should wonder if because they are Baptist, or even Christian, do they have the same phobia and hate for the gay community like that of the small church in Kansas? After drawing parallels to Westboro, I would ask anyone who has made up their mind about Islam if they think it's fair to say that "all Muslims are terrorist or extremist." The second article just backed up the first article, but using the Jewish community for the main focus. What sells in the media, what people want to read is not always the best portrayal of any religion. It does not fairly represent minority or the religion as a whole. Political leaders, and people associated with fame are the people that appear in the media.

Tamsyn Morison said...

In Aslam Abdallahs chapter i found it interesting when he said 'every religious community has produced its own terrorists.' We often just associate muslims with terrorism, however this is not the case. If we look back in history we will see that there has been numerous cases involving other religions with terrorist acts. In the second article i found it interesting how the Jewish community is like all other religious groups that get mis represented in the media. The media just wants to sell their stories and do not care if those stories mis represent a certain group!

Lynna Jezek said...

I was not surprised by Abdallah's chapter on Muslims in the Media after 9/11; the fact that Muslim extremists have given a stereotype to all Muslims after 9/11 was expected when reading. Though I think as consumers of media, we all tend to focus on this stereotype as well, even though it is untrue and a better generalization for Muslims is a peace-loving group of people.
Reading Cohen's article, however, I was incredibly surprised at the mention of the Danish cartoon crisis. After discussing the cartoon in class, I was shocked to find out that Israeli media did not give much concern to the actual cartoon.

Cal Smith said...

I've always found it interesting how such a radical minority in the Islamic faith garners more American media attention than the 95% of Muslims who practice and go about their faith much like any christian or Jew. As Abdallah's article stated every religion produces extremists that could just as easily be considered "terrorists", but the media just doesn't portray them in this manner. Negative media sells much better than positive, and after 9/11 muslims were easy prey. However, as stated in Cohen's article this can often times be the case for any religion including Judaism. The question is when do these gross misrepresentations of religions as a whole by focusing on negative sects lead to persecution of an entire people group?

Claire Levatino said...

For every religious sect, ethnicity, country, etc. there is a certain stereotype that is associated with it. Why is it that Islam and Judaism are so largely misrepresented then? Hollywood is looking for what will get the best rating with no regard to stepping on toes or being respectful. Just like after 9/11 when Americans focused only on the extremist, hollywood is only focusing on a certain viewpoint of Islam and Judaism. But, because the religious traditional practitioners of these faiths are the minority in today's terms they do not get a say in the matter, but have to watch their beloved way of life be mocked by corporate America.

Kit Galco said...

In both articles, both groups have been misinterpreted and misrepresented in both their religions and way of life. Instead of being presented as how the majority of them are and act, the media knows a buck is made faster if they show only the extremists and terrorists of the groups and propagating a stereotype only fuels the money pot.

Delma Ramirez said...

In the chapter by Aslam Abdallah it was interesting how he mentioned that in every religion there will and have been "extremist" or some form of "terrorism", yet caught up in the aftermath of 9/11 the media failed to portray this and just focused on the Muslim extremists who used their religion as some sort of "excuse". The argument of media exploitation of religions such as Judaism and Islam is raised due to the fact that they have been a "hot topic" and therefore manipulation and interpretation of their belief and practice has been altered by the media. This only worsens public knowledge because the common man is being exposed to a negative bias opinion of these religions.

Karlie Willbern said...

It is sad to me that after the tragedy of 9/11 that anyone who even look remotely Muslim or middle eastern was judged to be a "terrorist" or "extremest". I feel as if any other ethnic or racial group would have been responsible for the attacks that their population would have been judged in the same manner. Though it isn't fair at all for them to be judged in such a way, seeing as though not all members of their society are guilty of terrorism, as a matter of fact only a few are, but it is understandable for people to judge and be angry with a group as a whole when such a terrible event occurs.

Jordan Brooks said...

The misrepresentation of other cultures, not just Islam and Judaism, is not uncommon. Making fun of other people groups and portraying them in a more profitable light is what places like Hollywood are about. I don't find it surprising at all that these two cultures are more misrepresented than others in our country though.

Paige Dusthimer said...

Often religions are misinterpreted and unrightfully portrayed in the media, Judaism is not an exception. It surprised me how Judaism's values and beliefs were so poorly shown in the media, and how skewed they were from reality. I assume these outrageous and far from truth conclusions emerge from the media's main goal, which is to sell a product, to make profit.