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Can a non-Muslim Mass Shooter be a Terrorist A Comparative Content Analysis of the Las Vegas and Orlando Shootings.pdf (1.46 MB)

Can a non-Muslim Mass Shooter be a “Terrorist”?: A Comparative Content Analysis of the Las Vegas and Orlando Shootings

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journal contribution
submitted on 2024-03-19, 07:55 and posted on 2024-03-19, 07:55 authored by Mohamad Hamas Elmasry, Mohammed el-Nawawy

This study used the 2017 Las Vegas and 2016 Orlando mass shootings as case studies to explore alleged double standards in reporting of events featuring Muslim and non-Muslim mass perpetrators of violence. The study used framing theory and content analysis to examine Los Angeles Times and New York Times coverage of the shootings during the one week immediately following each event. Findings are consistent with previous literature and the researchers’ expectations. The Orlando shooting, carried out by a Muslim, was allotted more coverage despite the fact that it produced nine fewer fatalities than the Las Vegas shooting, perpetrated by a white non-Muslim. The analysis also showed that the examined newspapers were more likely to employ a “terrorism” frame in their coverage of the Orlando shooting than in their coverage of the Las Vegas shooting; link the Orlando mass shooting with the global war on terrorism; and to humanize Stephen Paddock, the white perpetrator of the Las Vegas shooting. Framing differences found in this study may contribute to downplaying the threat of white male gun violence, and to reinforcing fears of Islam and Muslims.

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Published in: Journalism Practice
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2019

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Doha Institute for Graduate Studies

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