The Importance Of Orientalism In Western Media

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The West has separated itself from the Middle East for centuries. This division is known as Orientalism which refers to the Western or Occidental views that the Middle East or Orient is inferior or different in some way. Edward Said was a scholar who studied the Western perception of the Middle East, specifically the word “Islam” through the lens of Orientalism. Said argues that this distinction between the West and the “other” is primarily reflected in Western media which generally promotes stereotypes of Muslims and people living in the Middle East. These stereotypes negatively represent the Middle East in the eyes of the public as a region filled with violence, anti-American sentiments, people with dark skin and unruly facial hair, and …show more content…
Western media refers to both North American and European media outlets such as newspapers, television broadcasts, pictures, cartoons, and much more. The study of political cartoons as the form of media within various Western countries will reveal a universal Orientalist approach within Western media. Political cartoons are daily fixtures in newspapers and magazines. Cartoons are easily to access and understand. Many of the political cartoons produced are understood without the use of words. This gives political cartoons a universal audience to influence. The data used to determine the dominance of Orientalism within Western media came from the New York Times News Service and Syndicate. This database provided 100 political cartoons from the month of January in 2015 from numerous Western countries including New Zealand, Australia, the United States, England, Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands, and many more. The range of this study in both sample size and source location illustrates the apparent and systematic presence of Orientalism and a misunderstanding of Middle Eastern people and culture within Western media, supporting Edward Said’s

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