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Terrorism remains a constant part of U.S. TV news coverage

U.S. TV News, January 1, 2001 – September 7, 2015

New York, September 9, 2015. Fourteen years after the September 11 terrorist attacks, U.S. TV news audiences continue to receive high levels of reports about terrorism while news coverage as a whole frames Muslims in an extremely negative light, according new research from Media Tenor international.

“Concerns about terrorism remain a constant part of news coverage in the U.S.,” says Racheline Maltese, a researcher at Media Tenor. “Much of this coverage relies on stereotyping, with Muslims associated with terrorism on U.S. TV news at five times the rate Christians are. Dialogue on shared cultural values has remained elusive.”

Despite being killed by U.S. forces in 2011, Osama bin Laden remained the sixth most visible protagonist related to terrorism on U.S. news in 2015. “Bin Laden remains a symbol of anxiety about terrorism and Islam in U.S. TV news,” Maltese says, noting that U.S. political figures were the most often visible on international terrorism.

“U.S. media has not yet bought into the idea of constructive news. There is little coverage about how to address terrorism, or about mainstream Muslim culture that could help combat stereotypes and anti-Islamic rhetoric. This media frame also has a global impact due to the current migrant and refugee crisis. Those fleeing Iraq, Syria, and Pakistan face additional challenges as many in the West are wary about welcoming Muslims into their society.”

This research examined all 327,021 reports on three U.S. TV news programs, January 1, 2001 – September 7, 2015.

For over 20 years Media Tenor’s mission has been to contribute to objective, diverse and newsworthy media content by bringing together the diverse parties. Media Tenor’s global research projects include analyses of election campaigns, investor relations, public diplomacy, corporate communications and other topics critical to news makers and news audiences.

For more information, please contact Racheline Maltese at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or
+1 212-935-0210.

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