Saturday, 04 February 2023

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Media Feeding Islamophobia

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CAIR-FL Summary:

The Fringe Effect Study, conducted by leading researcher Christopher A. Bail from the University of North Carolina, depicts how fringe anti-Muslim organization became mainstream in the past ten years by using negative energy and emotional displays of anger and hate. The result being that these organizations received lots of media attention and allowing them to shape public policy and discourse.
Meanwhile, mainstream organizations, due to their professional standing and diverse array of constituents, could not resort to the use of negative energy and emotion and therefore their more moderate approach and message, while more in line with mainstream public opinion,  would receive significantly less media coverage and attention.  The media, who gave in to the cries for attention by fringe groups who resorted to emotional tactics, in essence made fringe groups mainstream and louder than they actually were.

Key Quotes from the Study:

“I find that anti-Muslim organizations captivated the mass media via displays of fear and anger after the September 11th attacks, even though the vast majority of civil society organizations deployed pro-Muslim messages. By 2008, these fringe organizations not only permeated the mainstream but also forged vast social networks that consolidated their capacity to create cultural change.”
“...displays of emotional energy such as fear or anger play a key role in focusing public attention...”
“...displays of negative emotions carry considerable risk for mainstream civil society organizations... Fringe organizations, on the other hand, have little to lose. Indeed, fringe organizations may become emotional precisely because they are unable to mobilize broad constituencies or attract public attention in the first place. Or, fringe organizations may display negative emotions strategically to exploit the media’s emotional bias.”
“In particular, my findings indicate that public displays of fear or anger enable civil society organizations without resources or resonant messages to achieve resonance. This heightened visibility not only facilitates fringe organizations’ accumulation of resources, but it also creates a profound dilemma for mainstream organizations. If mainstream organizations react angrily to the rise of fringe organizations, they may only increase the profile of these once marginal actors. Yet if they do not respond, mainstream organizations risk being ignored.”
“ amplification of fringe organizations contributed to this rise in negative public opinion of Islam.”
You can download the full report here

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