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Has the New York Times Negatively Stereotyped

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This study examines stereotyping of Arab Muslims in the New York Times for the past forty years. Theorists suggest that stereotyping of a minority group effects the public's opinion of that group. Other communication media theorists say that only under extreme conditions will the negative stereotypes reflect the publics' opinions of the portrayed minority group. The parallel theory between propaganda and stereotyping by the mass media is examined. Theorists including Thomson, (1977) & Myers, (1992), related to mass media effects strongly agree claiming that repetitive and non-contradictive images in the media are an effective form of propaganda. The research samples are random article reviews of the New York Times for the past forty years. Using every fifth year and 2 random numbers ranging from 1 to 12 is used to select an article search date. Islam was the search term. The Gudykunst & Kim( ? ) method of analyzing a stereotype is used to evaluate the 8 New York Times articles. The results indicate 95% of the articles were "vague," labeling entire group rather than individual. Out of the total 100%, 70% of the article used unfavorable trait characteristic labeling.

Has the New York Times negatively stereotyped Arab Muslims for the past forty years? The goal of this research project is to reveal the negative stereotypes directed towards Arab Muslims in the New York Times. The critical focus of the research is the consistency of the negative stereotypes. The underlying focus is what theoretical and historical effects result from the negative stereotypes.


The operational definition is "an idea, expression, lacking in originality or inventiveness. A simplified and standardized conception or image of a person or group held in common by members of a group." (Dictionary). Theorist's Gudykunst & Kim claims the word stereotype originated from an author named Walter Lippman. In this study, the independent variable is the New York Times and the dependent variable is the Islamic religious group.


"And seek assistance through patience and prayer, and most surely it is a hard thing except for the humble ones" (Holy Qur'an 2:45). To announce you are a Muslim, you have to follow the five pillars of Islam that are:

1. Pray five times a day.

2. Fast during the month of Ramadan.

3. Make a pilgrimage to Mecca.

4. Pay homage to the poor and.

5. Believe that there is only one God.

and Mohammed is the prophet of God.

Otherwise one is untruthful if one calls him or her self a Muslim.


New York Times is accepted world wide as the number 1 international news paper Atef, (1994). Consistency of negative stereotyping for 40 years is believed by media theorists to be a key factor in shaping public opinion. Prophet Mohammed says "The pen is mightier than the sword ". Is the media a significantly a dangerous weapon to 8 million Muslims in America, 48 Muslim nation's worldwide, 1 billion Muslims on Earth, and the fastest growing religion. More humans have died because of their religion than any other cause of death. Torah, Bible, and the Holy Koran are the sacred books of these religions.

With the Disney and ABC Cap city and Warner and CBS and other mergers, the media is becoming more consolidated. The significance of negative stereotyping is outlined by Thomson, (1977) who reveals the results of negative stereotyping as Polarization, Trivialization, Tension, and Depoliticisation. Single owners have more control over what one watches and reads.


Many communication theorists have studied stereotyping in the different facets of the mass media concerning minority groups. Theorist Zillman's study on stereotyping examines the desensitization effect of negative stereotyping in a rape case. Zillman's (1982) study: The impact of heavy pornography viewing on the juror's decision concluded that the consistent viewing of pornography desensitized the jurors regarding an assaulted victim. Concerning what previous theorists have hypothesized equates to the media shaping individualism more than the non-actor role models. When the traits depicted in media message are repeated and not contradicted, negative stereotyping is very effective.

Theorists such as Kahn, (1992) & Fisher, (1989) agree on the extent of effects of negative stereotyping.

Fisher's theory takes into effect in many different situations including maximum-security prisons. A study by Glenn Fisher, "Mass Media Effects on Sex Role Attitudes of Incarcerated Men," examines the conscious state of mind of prisoners in reflection to media messages.

The benefit of this research would reassure society that the prisoners are well adjusted to return to society. The foundation of the research is that these incarcerated men are disconnected from the outside world except for the mass media. This is a very interesting situation because of the fact that it is a controlled environment with minimum outside variables to interfere with prisoner's perceptions of the mass media's portrayals.

Fisher, (1989) intend to record the opinions and attitudes of the prisoners concerning stereotypical beliefs towards women. Because these men have been imprisoned for over 4 years, this makes them very good subjects. The prisoners are dependent on the mass media as a current description of the society. This study quizzes their traditional sex role attitudes, to see if they have kept up to current times through to the media.

The survey then compares the results to the male population's opinion on pre incarceration sex role attitudes. The results would prove Fisher's, (1989) hypothesis, "The amount of media consumption did have a significant effect on sex role attitudes" (p.192). The results showed that the general population's opinion towards the survey: "A working mother can establish just as warm and secure a relationship with children as a mother who does not work"(p.200). General population males scored



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