‘Lone wolf’ or ‘terrorist’? How bias can shape news coverage

“Another decision: describing the attack that authorities say was committed by Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old white man, as a “mass shooting” rather than “domestic terrorism.” When a Muslim person mows down innocent victims and terrorizes a community, media and authorities are quick to declare it terrorism; when a white, non-Muslim attacker does the same, he is usually described as a disturbed loner in a freak incident. In both cases, journalists arrive at these conclusions early in the news cycle when information is incomplete. (Official statistics show far more terrorism in the U.S. is committed by white men than by Muslims).”


Terror? Murder? As the Dead Mount, a Debate Persists

“Is it terrorism when a gunman sprays bullets in an elementary school or an African-American church or a Planned Parenthood clinic? What about at an office holiday party? Does an attack on a military recruitment center automatically qualify? What if a suspect is an American Muslim? Does he or she have ties to designated terrorist groups or are assumptions being made based on religion, even without firm evidence?”


Paris, Beirut, and the Language Used to Describe Terrorism

“Not all media coverage is created equal, and sometimes the difference is in a few words.”

“As in Paris, the attacks in Beirut were the deadliest in decades, committed by the same medieval perpetrators from outside. And yet major American and European media outlets did not treat the two incidents similarly, which in turn, I suspect, contributed to an environment in which terror in Paris spurred Facebook to action in a way bloodshed in Beirut didn’t.”