As the world continues to reel after the New Zealand mosque shootings that killed 50 people, one journalist made an important point about the way that white mass shooters are portrayed in the media.
Medhi Hasan, a presenter on Al Jazeera English, spoke to MSNBC on Sunday about the double standards when it comes to depicting Muslim terrorists compared to white nationalist terrorists.
Speaking to host Joy Ann Reid, he said:
A non-Muslim terrorist has to kill on average 7 people more than a Muslim terrorist to get equal coverage as a Muslim terrorist.
That’s a #mediafail.
I’m always reminded of that old viral tweet that terrorism is one of the only areas where white people do most of the work and get none of the credit.
Hasan was citing a study by Georgia State University looking into the media coverage of terror attacks carried out by Muslims compared to other groups.
Earlier on in the interview he said:
The word terrorism is not used for people who are not Muslims - that’s the problem.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that a terrorist attack is only an attack carried out by a brown dude with a beard shouting in Arabic.
When of course the statistics show otherwise.
The ADL says that three-quarters of the terrorist attacks in the United States over the past decade were carried out by far-right white nationalist terrorists, a quarter by Muslims.
Can we say that the media coverage of terrorism in this country is 75 per cent white nationalist, 25 per cent Muslim? Of course not.
Hasan also spoke about how this imbalance in the way terrorist attacks are reported in the media leads to "racism, islamophobia and fear on the part of communities of immigrants".
He added that people on Twitter end up concentrating on the terrorism threat from “foreign people” rather than "the terrorism threat in out midst”.
Many people on Twitter praised Hasan for his well-researched critique of media bias when reporting on terrorism.
Hasan previously took part in a debate at the Oxford Union to consider whether Islam is a peaceful religion in 2013. He cited political and cultural reasons for violence in Muslim majority countries rather than religious reason and won the debate with 268 votes to 168.
As well as working for Al Jazeera, Hasan is known around the world for his take downs of presidents and prime ministers and his analysis of global news events in his podcast Deconstructed.
Here is just one example of his forensic interview technique.
You can read the Anti-Defamation Leagues' report on right-wing terrorism in the US in full here.