Dr. Risa Brooks, Political Science and Dr. Grant Silva, Philosophy
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11th came a flood of criticism of Islam and Muslims in the U.S. media. Many saw Islam as the root cause of the attacks, but failed to assess the political or social issues in the Middle East, or even the United States’ role in the region. An example of this is the New York Times’ section that ran immediately after the attacks entitled ‘A Nation Challenged,’ which included titles such as: “Yes, this is about Islam,” “This is a religious war,” “Barbarians at the gate,” and “The one true faith.” This project analyzes the mainstream print media’s—New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, and USA Today—representation of Muslims and Islam from September 11, 2001 to December 31, 2001 and its relation to U.S. foreign policy. My assertion is that the mainstream media employed rhetorical emulating, and sometimes mimicking, of Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations theory when representing Muslims and Islam, which in turn supported aggressive military action in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In support of my assertion, I find that Huntington’s clash of civilizations absolves the US of all guilt regarding the attacks. Once the theory is adopted it becomes a given, something intrinsic to politics, thus making the ‘clash’ seem inevitable. The Clash of Civilizations theory also supports aggressive military action because of the implicit and explicit denunciation of all ‘civilizations’ that are not ‘Western.’
Mass Communication | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies
Thompson, Andrew I., "Andrew I. Thompson - From Tragedy to Policy: Representations of Muslims and Islam in U.S. Mainstream Media" (2013). Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program 2013. 14.