“The media do not portray reality, they create reality”
In today’s final blog post, I will be exploring and analysing racism and representation in journalism. It is no secret that over the years the media have created misrepresentations and stereotypes of ethnic minorities. The media is responsible for many things when it comes to the way we think as humans, a society and as a globe.
“A system of meaning that helps define and explain the world and that makes value judgements about that world” — (Hoynes, 2012)
Media representation are the ways in which media portrays particular groups, communities, events, ideas or topics from a particular ideology or values aka Dominant ideology. The term ‘Dominant Ideology’ coined by the father of Marxism — Karl Marx. It explores the idea of common values and beliefs shared by most people in a given society, framing how the majority think about a range of topics. This ideology is understood by Marxism to reflect, or serve the interest of the dominant class in that society, one way to summarise is, the dominant ideology is the ideology of the dominant class. This can be seen profusely in the media, when looking at the representation of religion, specifically looking at the portrayal of muslims and black people has been inaccurate and caused uproar due to the misrepresentation of these ethnic minorities.
Let’s dive into a few examples of representation or more so the misrepresentation of particular groups in the media. Firstly we will be exploring the representation of muslim groups in news and journalism, it has been a topic that has been around, however only recently voiced.
In the news article above, it embeds the dominant ideology in the bold headline, in the main centre of the paper. Using the words “MUSLIM CONVERT” misrepresents the muslim community by identifying the offender by using their race and ethnicity as a possible reason to why the murder was committed. Using graphic words ‘BEHEADS’ also conveys muslims to be ‘animalistic’ and ‘barbaric’ which has been seen throughout the media, whether it is TV, news or film. It makes the reader associate muslims with crime and subconsciously adds these ‘dominant values’ to the reader’s mind. Media theorist Bell Hook states “Stereotypes, however inaccurate, are one form of representation”. It is evident that there is negative portrayal of Islam in the media, it is difficult to find positive news articles, so this way it gives society negative attitudes towards that group.
On the other hand it is interesting to take a look at the media representation of other ethnicities. Now looking at the Las Vegas shooting back in 2017 committed by Stephen Paddock, it is evident that there is a different tone of voice when journalists reported the story.
Analysing this news story portrays the difference in reporting of the attack compared to the first news article. The headline of the article only describes the attacker as a ‘gunman’ with no mention of his background or race. It goes on to describe the attacker as a ‘high stakes gambler on a losing streak’ and ‘possibly bipolar’, this again is another example of how dominant ideology can be seen in the news and media.
In the article there is no mention of the offenders ethnicity but instead identify the man by his occupation and how he had lost his “wealth” which could have been a contributing factor to why he had committed the attacks in the first place. It is interesting to note the distinctions between the two articles and how the first one only focused on the criminal’s religion and injected this ‘idea’ to the reader that it could be a possibility to why this offence happened. The media can be a great platform if it represented all ethnicities and minorities fairly, it is important to be aware of what you are consuming and the messages embedded in the media text, because it is on TV and Newspaper doesn’t always mean it is right…