Ultimately, is significantly responsible for endorsing and

Ultimately, each exposure to propaganda reinforces these
flawed ideologies and the stereotypes surrounding the ‘Muslim terrorist’. Prejudices and stereotypes are potent tools for
propagandists because they affect, “the information we acquire via perception”
and provide, “social scripts that guide us through the world, make sense of it,
and legitimate our actions within it” (Stanley 195). Stanley further states
that, “sincere, well-meaning people under the grip of flawed ideology
unknowingly produce and consume propaganda” (Stanley X). In other words, the
discriminatory thoughts and behaviors that propaganda brings to surface aren’t necessarily
intentional, but instead are a result of unconscious cognitive processes that
are already present in the individual. Once the flawed ideology has been
implanted, then propaganda simply has to reactivate the false belief in order
to strengthen it. This is when “confirmation bias sets in” where people tend to
notice, process, and remember information in a way that confirms their
preexisting beliefs (Corbin 465). Consequently, when Americans watch the news
covering a bomb attempt in an airport and the word “terrorist” arises, they
unconsciously associate it with a Muslim perpetrator and come away more
convinced than ever that they are in danger.

            Mass media is a master forum that repeatedly
links Muslims with terrorism and is significantly responsible for endorsing and
normalizing the biased discourse surrounding Muslims. The media and its
collective actors present more than just facts and information, but also
provide, “a central organizing idea…for making sense of relevant events” and
thereby “give meaning to an issue” (Bail 857). By presenting competing
diagnoses of crises and corresponding solutions to redress them, these media
frames have the ability to exert powerful influences on public discourse.
However, new outlets in particular take advantage of their impact and have contributed
to the mobilization of the stereotype that Muslims are dangerous for our
national security. Time after time, the media links acts of violence committed
by Muslims to their religion, while describing Christian extremists as silent, shy
people and showing their graduation photos instead of their mug shots (Corbin
467). In addition, in the United States, “there is a disturbing tendency to
presume that mental illness is a cause when certain violent acts are
perpetrated by racists or other extremists, but is not a factor when the
perpetrator is a Muslim American” (Schanzer 41). By bending over backwards to
identify some psychological traits or personal trauma that must have triggered
a violent act committed by a white person, the media is strengthening the idea
of the ‘Muslim terrorist’. With all the lone-wolf perpetrators who do not have obvious
connections with a violent organization, it is difficult to determine if they
are terrorists or if mental illness may have played a role in their violent
conduct. However, because the identity or religion of the perpetrator clearly
results in different standards of evaluation, these criminal reports are acting
as propaganda and enhancing the unfavorable views towards Muslims. 

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