Contradicting an Internet Rumor via Traditional and Social Media: Campaign Obama’s Anti- Muslim/Pro-Christian Rhetoric

By Lisa Barr.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Given the U.S. military campaign waged in Arab and/or other countries with substantial Muslim populations, it seems surprising that only U.S. cinema has been thoroughly analyzed for its anti-Islam content by such scholars as Jack Shaheen and his book Reel Bad Arabs. This paper begins with an application of Cultivation Analysis theory to map some possible parameters of the largely unstudied negative meme in U.S. news media regarding Muslims and/or Islam in general. Its next section then applies the tenets of the Spiral of Silence notion (that in a time of intense nationalism, those with minority viewpoints will greatly exaggerate the unpopularity of their own views and actively self-censor) to the 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign of Barack Obama. Specifically, this section will analyze the Obama campaign use of ‘traditional’ news media in thwarting the internet rumor that Obama was a ‘secret’ Muslim. In ‘defending itself’ against that rumor, the campaign used rhetorical tactics which some might deem ‘anti-Muslim’ and ‘pro-Fundamentalist Christian’. Overview: Stream: Knowledge and Technology and Society

Keywords: News Media, Rumor

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.55-66. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 657.799KB).

Dr. Lisa Barr

Assistant Professor, Mass Media Law and Journalism, Journalism Program, Department of English and Journalism, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL, USA

Dr. Lisa Barr is a journalist/scholar who is active in the media reform movement of scholars. Following a full-time, 17-year, award-winning commercial and public broadcast news career in medium and large media markets, she completed graduate work focusing on critical media theory and mass media law (Master’s in Mass Communication University of Florida, Ph.D. Mass Media Bowling Green State University, J.D. The John Marshall Law School, Chicago, IL). Barr is editor in chief of Communications and the Law and serves on editorial boards for Journal of Communication Inquiry and Mass Media Annual Editions.

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