Covering Islam How the Media and the Experts Determine How

Covering Islam How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World [PDF / EPUB] Covering Islam How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World From the Iranian hostage crisis through the Gulf War and the bombing of the World Trade Center the American news media have portrayed Islam as a monolithic entity synonymous with terrorism and religio How the ePUB ☆ From the Iranian hostage crisis through the Gulf War and the bombing of the World Trade Center the American news media have portrayed Islam as a monolithic entity synonymous with terrorism and religious hysteria In Islam How the Media and PDF \ this classic work now updated the author of Culture and Covering Islam PDF/EPUB or Imperialism reveals the hidden agendas and distortions of fact that underlie even the most objective coverage of the Islamic world.

10 thoughts on “Covering Islam How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World

  1. says:

    Edward Said's writing even if it's about a certain historical event written in a particular historical context something of which he himself is constantly aware is timeless in the sense that he understands certain fundamental dynamics of human interaction and nature These dynamics include the relationship of knowledge to both interpretation and power as well as the consistent human tendency to objectify that which is different from us a phenomenon known as otherness to people like me or as Orientalism to people who've lived from Said's perspective So the fact that Said is writing in 1980 about the Iranian hostage crisis before its conclusion is irrelevant to the larger point he is trying to make about human relations In addition to and despite the historical contextual nature of the writing Said still manages to give us valuable insights into the nature of Western Islamic relations itself a problematic term in its overgeneralization today For example Said states in the concluding pages that negative images of Islam are very much prevalent than any others and that such images correspond not to what Islam 'is' but to what prominent sectors of a particular society take it to be 136 He follows that up on the last page by imploring the reader to realize that all knowledge is interpretation and that interpretation must be self conscious in its methods and its aims if it is to be vigilant and humane if it is to arrive at knowledge For otherwisewe will offer the Muslim world the prospect of many wars unimaginable suffering and disastrous upheavalsSaid has no patience for lazy scholarship and sweeping generalizations particularly when human life is at stake This is embarrassing when we look at the wealth of knowledge that has been made available to us since he wrote this book Does it need to be stated that our computers allow us access to not just Western interpretations of Islam whatever it is that means to any given person but to Islamic interpretations of Islam? This is the problem that occupied some of this book in 1980 the lack of Islamic interpretation of its own society in Western scholarship that is not nearly as much of an issue today For not only do we have the internet at our disposal but we also have much cross pollination in the world of academia due to the nature of technology and globalization Obviously the nature of subjectivity still makes the point about interpretation valid but the ignorance of and blanket statements towards a namereligionlabel that is claimed by at least 25% of the world's population is inexcusable There are varieties of cultures inherent to and differences of custom practice language and interpretation in the world of Islam today than can possibly be grasped in any one individual's lifetime This includes not only the religion but the politics societies and ethnic groups that form the large majorities of of what could be considered Islam This is not even to mention those that are identified as Muslim simply by association but are for all practical purposes irreligious All of this should be obvious as should much of what Said has to say Yet that is precisely the brilliance of an author like Said He is prophetic in the sense that he states universal truisms about human nature He is knowledgeable and wise in the sense that he makes complex ideas easy to understand And finally he is able to apply these principles of interpretation and human nature to himself and realize his personal role in the process which is critical for any analyst attempting to make sense of our world

  2. says:

    Son of Orientalism Edward Said wrote one of the seminal books of the late 20th century “Orientalism” which influenced the way countless historians anthropologists economists novelists and travelers looked at other cultures His main topic therein was if I may be extremely succinct how knowledge is created and how in particular it was created over several centuries as concerned the Middle East by imperialistcolonialistracist writers of all kinds Summing up such a potent book in a sentence is ridiculous but in terms of this review necessary COVERING ISLAM is a continuation of Said’s first book If Western views of Islam their “knowledge” of it were created by French and British scholars of the 18th and 19th centuries the American media political establishment and body of academic scholars has created the American view of Islam in the period after WW II To be succinct again they have done a pretty poor job of it Said gives credit where he feels credit is due singling out various scholars or journalists whom he thinks have done substantial work but disparages the mass of writers who he points out have served the purposes the political or oil drilling establishments He speaks of “communities of interpretation” and basically decides that they have failed to understand He claims that a specific picture of Islam has been created and that picture is limited and stereotyped That picture helped to create a confrontational political situation pitting “us” against “Islam” The picture we have been given may tell us about ourselves than about the world of Islam which is far variegated than ever given credit for in the media “Clichés caricatures ignorance unualified ethnocentrism and inaccuracy” p122 have been rampant Said points out that “the world we live in is much too complex and much too different now and much too likely to go on producing unconventional situations however much they may be to the liking of the United States as a nation to be treated as if everything could be translated into affronts to or enhancements of American power” p100 A less stimulating section deals with the academic world of Middle Eastern Studies Here Said involves himself and the reader in some feuds barely disguised While he may have had some decent points here too you wonder what personal animosities led him to include this I think the book would have been better without them Nevertheless there is truth in the fact that a lot of the upper establishment of academia cooperated within the network of governmentcorporations universitiesthink tanks doing research to “prove” certain beliefs or desired objectives The connection of knowledge with power could not be clearer One long section of the book is about the Iranian hostage crisis which was unfolding as he wrote Said notes that the long history of American interference and Western attempts to dominate Iran hardly rated a mention in the media The “barbaric” captivity which he does not support came to an end with everyone still alive What about all the Central American kids on the border? Are they all still alive? American relations with Iran are worse than ever; we are still stumbling about blindly in the Middle East particularly under an ignorant racist president who thinks only of his investments and “playing with the big boys” I can go on However the stunning thing about this book is that it was written 40 years ago before two Gulf wars before the end of the Iran Ira War the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the Gaza Wars before 911 and the Afghanistan war the Islamic State and the Syrian Yemeni and Libyan civil wars Did we learn anything from Said? Did we learn anything from all these wars and disasters? Damn little If you think he was just some kind of gadfly with no firm grounding 40 years ago here is part of his last paragraph written in 1980 “If the history of knowledge about Islam in the West has been too closely tied to conuest and domination the time has come for these ties to be severed completely About this one cannot be too emphatic For otherwise we will not only face protracted tension and perhaps even war but we will offer the Muslim world its various societies and states the prospect of many wars unimaginable suffering and disastrous upheavals not the least of which would be the birth of an ‘Islam’ fully ready to play the role prepared for it by reaction orthodoxy and desperation By even the most sanguine of standards this is not a pleasant possibility” What else do I need to say?

  3. says:

    After laying the ideological foundations of Orientalism and exploring its impact on Western policy and thought towards the Muslim peoples Saïd here analyzes how these factors inform the press and how it transforms and warps reality in reporting If you wonder why CNN and Fox can continue to use falsehoods and slanderous stereotypes about arabs without barely any criticism in the rest of the mainstream media you will not be disappointed It is interesting to note that in another recent book I read An Army at Dawn Churchill's aim during WW II was to maintain the British Empire following the defeat of Germany and how he omitted revealing true casualty numbers and atrocities committed by Allied forces in the Africa campaign and presumably beyond and this book from 1981 clearly explains why Even 37 years later nothing has really changed A must read

  4. says:

    The first edition of this book was written during the Iranian Revolution so the majority of the incidents discussed refer to that or the oil shock of the 70s I read the second edition that was published during the 90s so it also includes some incidents from the 80s and the Gulf War Despite its age a lot of the points made about the way that Muslims are framed in the media are still valid if not so There has been a lot of research into this area since this book was published but most of those books refer back to this one so it remains relevant

  5. says:

    Excellent book that discusses how the media frames the Islamic tradition and creates authoritative voices who represent Islam on the airwaves or in print but are not necessarily the authoritative voices

  6. says:

    First published in 1981 and updated in 1997 Said's critiue of the media's coverage of Islam particularly in the Middle East is a thought provoking challenge to any reader's perceptions of what is reported as news from that war torn part of the world Written before 911 subseuent military intervention in Afghanistan and the current conflict in Ira the book's interpretation of events unfolding there the aftermath of the Islamic revolution in Iran are often prophetic An understanding of Islam based solely on Western interest he argues will lead to further and protracted conflict rather than resolution of differencesDespite a carping tone that becomes irritating and a tendency to make its points with a thoroughness that seems like overkill the book throws a searching light on how Islam is represented by news gatherers experts and policy makers Emphasis on violence anti American rhetoric and resistance to modernization for example belie the fact that there is not a single monolithic Islam but many Islams and that what news organizations perpetuate is an undifferentiated form of cultural stereotyping as if it were sufficient to say about the Dutch that they all wear wooden shoesSaid's arguments are often dismissed for reasons that may have some validity as a Palestinian American his sympathies are clearly not pro Israeli but readers can benefit nonetheless from his contrarian views especially since they throw into uestion assumptions about the Middle East which so far show a tendency as in the case of Iran and Ira to seriously misjudge political and cultural realities

  7. says:

    I don't know if there's such a thing as 'over sympathy' towards Islam or not but I couldn't really escape the sense that Edward Said often fell into sympathetic justifying tone rather than sympathetic explanatory tone in arguments of Islamic violence in the west or towards the west here I understood that the whole discussion in the book is about The West and not about Islam but if the book's tone made me uncomfortable and confused I know that it's not realistic to say that but Western violence in our countries doesn't at all justify violence in the west; it does explain it but it doesn't justify it The same goes for violence against Muslim brown communities actually whenever a terrorist attack take place It does explain it; it doesn't justify it But don't get me wrong This is the only thing I have against the arguments of the book And even that I say with half hearted sense because the book is very persuasive in its arguments Edward Said is a hardcore Academic man sorry for the expression He's both elouent and elegant as his usual in laying arguments with supportive compelling evidence The most thing I like about Edward Said is he's a philosopher of a sound and rational mind and when he's critical he's not at all polemic Even when oppose idiots and crazy people with great influence he's a civilized and elegant man in his criticism and never goes low or trivial However the relationship of the Islam and West is often interpreted that Islam is the attacker the trouble starter and that's true But when it comes to Islam in Islamic countries is a totally different power dynamic I don't like Iran I don't wish to grow up in Iran The idea of praising aspects of Iran was insane for me One doesn't often hear such rhetoric It's not Edward Said's words It's the Le Monde's journalist Rouleau But that's the end of it Edward Said's point was that the American Media didn't see any positive sides from the Iranian revolution despite the presence of less aggressive parties than Khomini which American media didn't cover unlike European mediaThe western media still relatively the same with cautious leftists than before but still blunt racists are still exercising their ignorant speeches Until recently a right wing fanatic on Fox i don't even which to mention his name but his name says fat white and incel said that Not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims Which is very strange coming out of an American who hear about a mass shooting every couple of months But compared to the CNN and The Post and Times coverage of Islam in 80s and 90s this statement is very nice Finally they admit not all Muslims are terrorists That's progress

  8. says:

    Though overly polemical at points this is still an informative book that takes much of Said's key ideas from Orientalism and applies them to media coverage of the Middle East and Islam helping to problematize the oversimplified portrayals of both Many of his main arguments are pretty obvious to us now news stories often villainize Muslims but give a much needed historical backing to coverage of Islam before 911 I think that others I know my age tend to assume that many of our problems in essentializing Islam and stereotyping Arabs are predominantly rooted in the 911 attacks Said's book helps clarify the history of the representations of the Muslims in American media and thus really helped me understand the American response to 911 in a way I hadn't before and provided a way to analyze news reports that already sound fishy without simply making overgeneralized statements ie Fox News sucks myself

  9. says:

    This book completely changed how I look at the headlines and news stories and reveals what a multi faceted racist conflation the word ISLAM is in the mouths of western journalists Also revealing is how much foreign policy is based on the shitty analysis of mis informed journalists

  10. says:

    Much like in Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent the conclusions that Edward Said draws in Covering Islam should be no big shocker to anyone who thinks critically about how American media operate Simply put racism and Islamophobia play a role in most media portrayals of the Islamic world although not nearly as great a role as ignorance laziness arrogance and the grand jump to conclusions Really Said is doing the lord's work pointing out just how naked certain emperors really are

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