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News media do under-report some terror attacks - just not those involving Islamist extremists

23:14 13 March 2017 Author :  

The media give considerably more coverage to terrorist attacks by Muslims — particularly if the perpetrator is foreign-born — than to attacks by anyone else, according to a new study.

Muslims commit far fewer terrorist attacks than non-Muslims, the research found, but when attacks by Muslims do happen they are written about 4.5 times more than other attacks.

Researchers at Georgia State University first looked at all attacks in the United States between 2011 and 2015, as listed in the Global Terrorism Database (GTD).

The GTD defines terrorism as “the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation.”

“Since the 11 September 2001, attacks, when most people in the United States hear the word 'terrorism,' they think of Muslims," the researchers wrote in the Washington Post"But terrorism comes in many forms.”

The GTD included the attack by Frazier Glenn Miller, a white supremacist and former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, on a synagogue in Overland Park, Kansas; Robert Dear’s attack on Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs; and Wade Michael Page’s attack on a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, along with many other lesser-known attacks.

In total, the team — academics Erin M. Kearns, Allison Betus, and Anthony Lemieux — documented 89 attacks committed by different perpetrators in the United States during the five-year period examined.

Between 2011 and 2015 in the United States, Muslims perpetrated 12.4 per cent of those attacks.

The researchers then searched for media coverage of each attack from US-based print sources in the LexisNexis Academic database of newspaper articles. Since many Americans get their news online, they also looked at coverage from CNN.com.(The Independent)

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