Right-wing media biased against Muslims, finds report

They are more likely to use unreliable sources, misleading headlines and biased articles.

A report has found that right-wing and religious media outlets are more likely to spread negative misinformation about Muslims.

The Centre for Media Monitoring (CfMM) report analysed over 10,000 articles which mentioned Muslims and rated them on five metrics for accuracy.

They found that right-wing and religious outlets are more likely to use unreliable source, misleading headlines and publish articles CfMM regards as “very biased”.

One of the worst offenders, according to CfMM, is the Spectator magazine. The researchers found that 29% of its articles which mentioned muslims were “very biased”.

One example is Qanta Ahmed’s Spectator article which claimed there is no basis for the niqab in Islam. CfMM say this is a misrepresentation which ignores and negates the belief of some women whose decision to wear the niqab is rooted in particular interpretation of the religion.

Another example is Dominic Green’s claim in the Spectator that Muslims target him for his Jewish blood. CfMM say this is just one example of a common generalisation used in the media – that Muslims are anti-semitic.

Another way in which the media is often biased against Muslims is when it associates Muslims or Islam with negative behaviour.

For example, they say, about an article by Trevor Phillips in the Daily Mail: “While arguing for more power for prison governors against gang members, Phillips singles out the nationality and religion of “Pakistani Muslims”, while using broader terms for “Black” and “White” people.”

The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Christian Today are most often guilty of this while the New Statesman, Guardian and Observer do it less often, the study found.

Another metric of anti-Muslim bias the study uses is when the media highlights the Muslim identity of a negative person but not a sympathetic person.

For example, a comment piece in the Jewish Chronicle mentions both Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini’s and the poet Rumi. Only Khomeini’s muslim identity is highlighted.

The report’s author Faisal Hanif concludes: “The critical mass of this output, particularly among the right leaning media, (although by no means exclusively), has the effect of dehumanising Muslims.”

The report recommends better fact-checking and more responsible editorial decisions.

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14 Responses to “Right-wing media biased against Muslims, finds report”

  1. Dave Roberts

    That a phobia! Cos you got to have a phobia, innit?

  2. Chester Draws

    One example is Qanta Ahmed’s Spectator article which claimed there is no basis for the niqab in Islam.

    So how do the millions of Islamic people who don’t wear the niqab get on then? Someone should tell them. Including, amusingly, two of the authors of the report in question.

    I look forward to their analysis of media reports published in Moslem countries involving Christians. Like that’s going to happen. There’s only barrow this lot are going to push.

  3. Dave Roberts

    While I like this site for the fact that it allows a discussion and doesn’t, at least apparently so, censor comments it leaves itself wide open to criticism because it takes things at face value instead of checking them. It is blindingly obvious that the vast majority of Muslim women in this country and in their won don’t wear the niqab. The only conclusion therefore must be is that they are bad Muslims and will be punished by the state. I watched a programme last night about The Lebanon and religious violence there and there wasn’t a niqab in site. Could we have an explanation of this please?

  4. Tom Sacold

    Yep. The niqab is simply a tool of cultural and political oppression.

  5. wg

    I grew up in a time of revolution – the 1960s were about throwing off the shackles of authoritarian religion.
    It couldn’t happen today – Dave Allen and the Monty Python team would be arrested under this weird, new zeitgeist of ‘hate crime’.
    Is the UK a better place for throwing off that religious authoritarianism – I believe that we are.

    Far more worrying to me is the inconsistencies of law that exist in the UK at present – halal slaughter, polygamy, sharia; we are either one nation under the law or we are not.
    It seems strange to me that, if I were to send my white English child to school dressed from head to toe in a black sack, my child would be sent home and given instructions to come back suitably attired.
    It seems that the state can meddle in my affairs to the nth degree – because I am a white Englishman – but will leave well alone any favoured religious denomination.

    As far as I’m concerned TV and the media can ridicule or speak negatively as much as they like – it’s what the UK is about: it will be up to the public to make up their own minds – or does Left Foot Forward think that we are all too thick to think without draconian state intervention?

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