SPACExRACE

An exploration of the physical frontiers that define race in America


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The Boston Marathon bombing and the media’s treatment of the ‘Muslim community’

Boston Marathon Bombing

An overhead image of the scene immediately after the Boston Marathon bombing (Photo Credit: Aaron Tang via Creative Commons License)

It’s certainly hard to believe, but it has only been a week since the horrific Boston Marathon bombing that took place on Monday, April 15. Maybe that’s because the story has been covered so exhaustively by everyone from surprisingly accurate random Twitter users to disturbingly inaccurate media conglomerates. Of the many story lines that emerged from this senseless tragedy – the suspects’ brazen attempted escape, the resiliency of the city of Boston, the heroism of the first-responders – the storytellers themselves also became part of the spotlight.

But among those many story lines was also the fascination with the suspects’ background and heritage. Namely, as this Fox News headline so poignantly opines, the fact that both suspects were Muslim extremists. This fact, once it became widely known, added yet another element of extreme interest for the 24-hour news cycle to dive into.

Immediately, articles began exploring the suspects’ heritage as immigrants from the separatist Chechnya region of Russia, their association with other Islamic extremists, and even their potential connections to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. But more notably, several articles written after the suspects’ identities had been revealed took into account the thoughts and opinions of the ‘Muslim community’. Continue reading

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Huffington Post’s sensationalized headlines undermine writers’ attempts at objectivity

The Huffington Post

The front page of The Huffington Post (Photo Credit: Drew Geraets via Creative Commons License)

For this post, I will be straying away slightly from my typical discussion of race and space to focus on the roles of media in propagating that discourse.

In particular, I have found that The Huffington Post hosts some of the most comprehensive commentary on issues of race and space across the spectrum of American media. The site is home to a variety of affinity sections, including ‘Black Voices‘ and ‘Latino Voices‘, which offer news and op/ed articles that come from and cater to particular minority groups. The way these sites curate content make them great for finding articles that pertain to issues of race and space.

The Huffington Post was first created with a liberal audience in mind, intended as the left-leaning answer to the Drudge Report, a conservative news-and-commentary site. Among the influences that the Drudge Report had on The Huffington Post is the use of large-print, sensationalized headlines, which are meant to take news stories and frame them for the intended audience.

So, where The New York Times might strive to serve you a headline that tells you the basic, essential information you are looking for from a news article, a Huffington Post headline is intended to elicit some sort of reaction from you, depending on your political leanings. The headline below is a great example. Continue reading