Media portrayals of Muslims

A comparative sentiment analysis of American newspapers, 1996-2015

By Erik Bleich & A. Maurits van der Veen
Keywords: religious minorities media coverage sentiment analysis

March 1, 2021


March 1, 2021


Are Muslims portrayed more negatively than other religious groups? If so, what factors are associated with this negativity? We apply computer-assisted, lexicon-based coding to over 850,000 articles that mention Muslims, Hindus, Jews, or Catholics in 17 national and regional US newspapers over the 20-year period of 1996– 2015 and compare them to a representative baseline of articles. We show that the average tone of articles about Muslims is considerably more negative than both this baseline and compared to articles about the other groups. The negative tone is most strongly associated with stories about extremism and events in foreign settings. However, even controlling for a wide range of factors does not eliminate the negativity in stories mentioning Muslims. We discuss the implications of these findings for media objectivity and for public attitudes and policy preferences with respect to Muslims and other social groups.

journal website
Posted on:
March 1, 2021
0 minute read, 0 words
religious minorities media coverage sentiment analysis
See Also: