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'Get shot of the lot of them': election reporting of Muslims in British newspapers
journal contributionposted on 11.07.2014, 14:03 by John Richardson
Journalism provides us with a window on the ways that social, ethnic and religious sameness/diversity is viewed. Hence, an examination of the ideas and arguments in the journalistic media provides us with insights into social ideas and attitudes, specifically into the understandings of who ‘we’ are and who ‘they’ are that are circulating at any one time. Richardson examines the ways that British Muslims were represented in British national newspapers, both broadsheet and tabloid, during the general elections of 1997, 2001 and 2005. Two weeks of press reporting immediately prior to each election day were sampled, with any journalistic text referring to ‘Islam’, ‘Muslim’ or ‘Moslem’ in the context of the United Kingdom recorded for analysis. Quantitative analysis, focusing on lexical collocation, was used initially to assess the frequency of key ideational frames in the newspaper reporting of British Muslims over the three elections. The analysis of the sample was enriched, through qualitative critical discourse analysis, to determine how British Muslims were depicted in these journalistic texts. The findings demonstrate a quantitative expansion of reports, and a qualitative shift in the texts’ arguments towards a constellation of negative representations. Richardson argues that the changes in reporting British Muslims are entirely a response to the so-called ‘war on terror’ in general, the invasion of Iraq in particular, and how these events were thought to be playing out in the national political sphere.
- Social Sciences
- Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies