Sept. 25, 2012: US media coverage of Islam and the Arab World

In one of his most famous books – Covering Islam – Dr. Edward Said looks deeply into Western media’s representations of Islam during the 1979-81 “hostage crisis”, when Iranian students occupied the US Embassy in Tehran.  Said wrote that Islam is treated with “patent inaccuracy” and “expressions of unrestrained ethnocentrism, cultural and even racial hatred [and] hostility.”  Fifteen years later, in his introduction to the 2nd edition of that book, Said returned to this issue and found that “the media’s portrayal of Islam had grown even more exaggerated.  ‘Sensationalism, crude xenophobia, and insensitive belligerence are the order of the day, with results on both sides of the imaginary line between ‘us’ and ‘them’ that are extremely unedifying.'” (Bayoumi & Rubin, p. 170 – see first reading below).


  1. Bayoumi & Rubin, Islam as News, by Edward Said
  2. Khouri, The Arab Story: the Big One waiting to be told Nieman Report 2007;
  3. Khouri, The Arab Awakening (The Nation, Sept. 12, 2011),
  4. Burgard (ed.), Preface; Intro; Chaps 1 (The Challenge of Covering Islam), 2 (Religion & Nationalism, Rami Khouri) and 3 (Lessons from Iraq)

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