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Many have questioned the effects of television and other media related outlets to the perception of audiences whom view them. Certainly, it is known that heavy usages can equate to numerous problems both mental and physical in nature. Islamophobia is the extreme fear of Islam and Muslims alike, and began directly following the devastating events of 9/11. Although, this event is significant and without a doubt occurred, scapegoating is taking a vicious form in America and other countries as well. Misinterpretations of Muslims are being portrayed and are showcasing numerous negative effects. Theoretical framework to help guide this study would include the cultivation theory, which posits avid television viewers develop complete trust and loyalty to what they watch through the screen. This paper will showcase the effects of media, and the distortion and lies they create, which undoubtfully harm Muslims’ and other groups as well.
Media, historically has been most concerned with negative issues and stories. Viewers watch news and other mediated programs in order to gain understandings and concepts of the current position of worldly events. Since it has been in order, media has misused its powers in numerous ways. One of these would include the misconceptions of Muslims. The fear associated to this distinct group is referred to as Islamophobia. Although it is occurring at a national level, Americans are most affiliated with said phobia. Such distortions exaggerate real events in such a way that people are manipulated into a certain way of thinking. Events produced by 9/11 and ISIS attacks are what feed the media and enable such exploitations to persist (Saeed, 2007). Generally, cause and effect relationships have effects that also conclude from the projected effects. Media interpretations are the cause of Islamophobia and cultivation theory can help prove this.
Many people debate over when Islamophobia first surfaced. There was certainly some degree of fear prior to 9/11, although it was very minimal. However, after such events, the hate and discrimination blew up quickly and irrationally. These events changed the American way of life significantly, and will be remembered forever during history. Even during the Trump administration, deep discussion on boarders and Islam maintained popularized topics of hierarchy, and still do today (Poudret, 2016). Although the events of 9/11 gave proper reasoning to such fears, scapegoating Muslim’s is severely unjust. Under no circumstances should the actions of a few determine the characteristics and motives of an entire population. Since there are very few terroristic accounts imposed by Muslims, the media utilizes 9/11 and ISIS as their main points of focus.
On way in which, Islamophobia propaganda is utilized in media is within political dimensions. This was heavily utilized within this current presidential campaign as well as many previously. The Middle East was a highly popularized topic on both Hilary’s and Donald’s campaigns. These campaigns and debates were publicized on news stations, radio stations, and YouTube channels as well. Each candidate took their turns discussing the maneuvers to combat ISIS and implement strict border control. Although, most people are unaware of the negative effects of these perceptions showcased in presidential campaigns, several conclude (Furjimura,2016).
Fujimura (2016) claimed: “Many of my interviewees claimed that the media is playing a huge role of negatively affecting people’s perception on Muslims. When they were asked how the recent terrorism and the emergence of ISIS have influenced the way people view Islam and Muslim students, one interview participant said, “They have influenced people negatively, because of massive amounts of media attention that is focused on Muslim terrorists, people have started to rather subconsciously relate Muslims with terrorists” (Fujimura, p. 2, 2016). So not only does media cause Islamophobia, but the effects are felt by Muslims everywhere. One may question the capability of media to brainwash the minds and perceptions of millions of viewers, and the question to that can, to some degree, be explained by cultivation theory.
Cultivation theory was designed by George Gerbner during the mid-1960’s. In writing this theory posits that the more television one watches, the more likely they are to believe everything they see on said channels. These ideas surfaced when the effects of media were first being studied. Research on the effects of perception deemed highly significant after the development of television. High frequency viewers have extreme difficulties deciphering which parts of television and true and which ones are false, so they just believe everything being presented. Which seems easier to them. By doing so, however, these viewers have a much different world view, one more corrupt and violent in nature (Mass Communication Theory,2013).
High frequency watchers don’t comprehend why such programs would deceive them about the circumstance of the world, in this way following every story and not addressing anything by any stretch of the imagination. Being around likeminded individuals can only add to this problem as well. Since let be honest, numerous individuals take part in this kind of conduct, millions tune into news stations as a day by day schedule, and put stock in these legislative elements to decide reality for them. Such watchers are said to ‘develop’ their demeanors to the conviction that a world characterized by media, is a genuine portrayal of the real world. Numerous hazardous circumstances can emerge from conviction without factualized confirmation, as results have appeared in numerous zones. As opposed to adapting first handedly around an affair or mingling with people, these viewers will construct all elucidations and convictions in light of the exhibited data accessible on TV, radio, or modernized medias Not only are such frameworks of media unjustifiable, yet deceptive in nature (Mass Communication Theory,2013). These convictions and depictions consider the abusing of people that fall into adverse portrayals as normal.
As we can see cultivation theory clearly helps explain the context of Islamophobia, which mimics a cause and effect type relationship. As expressed over, 9/11 and ISIS are factual occasions and circumstances, be that as it may, these extremists, such as Osama Bin Laden, and ISIS members associated with slaughters and terroristic acts are not the slightest bit reflections of Islam. These people are characterized as radicals, they translate the Quran in impossible ways, so far passed the truth, and they are manipulative and will remain determined till the very end. Religious intentions are what they guarantee, yet the Quran never gives allowance over mass killings such as these. The word Islam means peace, and peace is a fundamental standard or norm for this religion. Through mutilation and untruthful embellishments, these governmental agencies have eventually brought a revolting picture of Islam.
So, now that we see how these distortions are implemented in the minds of individuals, we now are faced with the question of why. Why do government agencies want people to fear Islam so much? The question to that is simply not black and white, however, a rational explanation can be guessed. Which is for money, because, let’s face it most corruption and manipulation is done for the sake of raising money. Although, such funds are not voluntarily given to the government, taxes are mandatory for such operations. According to Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (2017): “Another 16 percent of the budget, or $605 billion, paid for defense and security-related international activities. The bulk of the spending in this category reflects the underlying costs of the Defense Department. The total also includes the cost of supporting operations in Afghanistan and other related activities, described as Overseas Contingency Operations in the budget, funding for which totaled $74 billion in 2016” (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, p. 1, 2017). This is the third largest dividend of American tax payer’s money (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2018). As described above, fear of Islam is created to help these expenditures. If the fear did not exist, many Americans would protest such expenses being taken from their checks. Although, there is no choice in the matter, less opposition would conclude if individuals feel there is a high need for some $74 billion to be spent.
Millions of Americans watch the news amid different times of the day. Americans, have various channels committed to such endeavors, which make a higher probability of enthusiastic (Gilliam & Iyengar,2000). watchers. These examples apportion indoctrinating and control of nationals. Which clarifies, why more individuals fear Islam in America, or moreso, why this nation is the most connected with Islamophobia, in spite of various others being included. One rule that makes America diverse in their Islamophobia contrasted with different nations like Britain, and Germany, is that they are not entirely centered around vocalization, rather execution also. Amid Trumps lead, he put a prohibition on numerous Middle Eastern nations, which affected numerous individuals. Such bans made it incomprehensible for understudies, families, and foreign nationals to enter once again into the United States. Numerous Muslims confront preference and manhandle from Americans while being in this nation. This is expected to be the medias distortions. Cultivation theory help clarifies why Islamophobia exists.
As we can conclude on such issues, media is certainly the cause of Islamophobia, however, other internalized reasons conclude as well. Cultivation theory provides theoretical framework and evidence for such claims. The more one watches the news or other mediated broadcasts, the more likely they are to fall into ‘cultivated attitudes’. Believing everything they see to be valid and of good intention would be the side effects of this. Media distortions is the cause and Islamophobia is the effect. However, more than just fear arises from such issues. This Islamophobia brings upon several rippling effects to those who endure its brutality (Muslims). The scapegoating of these individuals is unjust and should be stopped. No one should be blamed for the actions of a few extremists. That’s like blaming all Americans for the actions of one shooter. It isn’t logical and has no indication of rational reasoning. Every person should be held accountable for themselves only. Media wants you to think like them, and not think for yourself, which is why they are doing this. They are internally brainwashing you to show no opposition to military endeavors.
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