The free press keeps American citizens educated and informed. So when the press's reporting is skewed, a vital part of our democracy is compromised. Studies show that media coverage of Islam and Muslims is overwhelmingly negative. This influences the attitudes of everyday Americans and impacts the kind of legislation politicians are willing to support. As a research organization focused on American Muslims, we want to share our data with the journalists who have the power to make a difference.
The average American has been exposed to a barrage of disproportionately negative media coverage about Islam and those who practice it. Studies show 9 in 10 Western news stories about Muslim life are related to violence. In fact, over the last 25 years, the New York Times has portrayed Islam and Muslims more negatively than cancer and cocaine. Coupled with the fact that less than half of Americans know a Muslim personally, it's no surprise that anti-Muslim bigotry exists.
We want to help journalists get it right on American Muslims. Your donation will allow us to host a full-day workshop focused on helping media makers go beyond soundbites to provide context and depth to their coverage. We'll bring in experts to define often-misused terminology, share the latest research on American Muslims, and provide connections to sources for future stories. We've done this before with great success, but it's crucial that we reach even more journalists.
The way journalists present information has a huge impact on the attitudes and viewpoints their readers hold. Arming media makers with facts, research, resources, and sources is the first step toward more nuanced and accurate reporting. Your support of this project will help all who experience the news gain a better understanding of Muslims in America and will ultimately help combat everyday bigotry against a deeply marginalized group of Americans.