Can’t stop, won’t stop questioning the media

By Camille Douglas

May 31, 2016

Today was the first day that we started our class sessions with guest lecturers. History professor Dan Wheatley gave us an hour long lecture about the evolution of British multiculturalism.

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Professor Dan Wheatley giving his lecture.

He talked about how there is no such thing as a pure “Englishman” anymore as England has become much more diverse. Dan even pointed out that the Royal family comes from a German descent. Globalization and immigration are just two of the many factors that have led to England becoming a multicultural and integrated hub it is today. The diversity and vastness of the people both racially and nationally mixed is producing a more colorful community, bringing in various cultures and backgrounds and creating more economic opportunities.

One of the things I found interesting was Dan’s discussion over the topic Islamophobia. According to him, Muslims make up only 4.8% of the population in London. Though they make up a small portion of the London’s population, they may face the terrible stereotype of being associated with terrorism. Given everything that has been going on with ISIS in the recent past, Dan suggested that the media has had a huge factor in developing that stigma among the people who practice Islam. And in my own biased opinion, I couldn’t agree more. I wrote an article for my JRN 200 class last fall about Islamophobia and how it may have an effect on Muslim students. I interviewed five students coming from various backgrounds along with expert professors. To summarize a conclusion in my investigations, they all concurred that the media is furthering the creation of this negative stigma due to the excessive coverage of ISIS and highlighting their extreme, inhumane practices. Looking at media outlets that I read, I don’t think I can remember a day where I didn’t see a new story about ISIS. You might be able to tell that I am frustrated about this whole Islamophobia subject, so to prevent me from getting carried away, what I learned from all of this, from Dan’s talk and my experience in writing that article, is that the media can be very effective in persuading what an audience may think. Though it’s a news outlet’s and a journalist’s job to remain unbiased, from what I learned from my professors and other professional sources, in today’s media, bias, unfortunately, prominently exists. It’s really up to you to decipher what the angle of the media is, taking part in discussions with others, analyzing your own ideas and beliefs to truly form your own opinion on things.

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Examples of Islamophobia portrayed in media headlines. Source: Mend Advocacy

Another interesting aspect Dan brought up in his lecture was that the United Kingdom media outlets cover a surplus of international news. According to Dan, many of the citizens here try to stay up to date on the latest news from the not just England, but from all over, including the U.S.  Assessing my own self, I think I do a pretty good job in staying updated on the major headlines, having a quick read through the New York Times or listening to CNN on a regular basis. However, I was surprised to hear about the controversy regarding the discontinuation of the European Union when I arrived in Dublin. Looking up the topic, the discussion has been going on since fall of last year. Maybe the news about it didn’t pick up until just recently? Maybe I missed that information somewhere or tuned it out? But I can’t fathom about how I could have neglected something so important. I’m questioning now if maybe the U.S. media does not cover as much international news as the England does? Maybe the audience in the U.S. is more focused on receiving news about their country than news from say France? I think that because I am pondering more and more questions on this subject, I may just select this topic to investigate and write about for my next media comparison paper!

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Infographic portraying the results of asking Great Britain citizens if the U.K. should stay in the European Union or not. Source: The Guardian

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