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Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World

by Edward W. Said

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679433,834 (3.7)2
"In this landmark work, for which he has written a new Introduction, one of our foremost public thinkers examines to origins and repercussions of the media's monolithic images of Islam. Combining political commentary with literary criticism, Edward Said reveals the hidden assumptions and distortions of fact that underlie even the most "objective" coverage of the Islamic world. In so doing, Covering Islam continues Said's lifelong investigation of the ways in which language not only describes but also defines political reality."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)
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Showing 4 of 4
I really struggled with this book. The author writes well enough but I felt he was too close to his subject to be objective. I have no doubt that the media protrays Islam in a biased way but Said is also biased in that he refuses to acknowledge that some followers of Islam are violent. I thought he might have felt differently after 9/11 but this article shows he still blames the Western media for negative portrayals of Islam although he does admit that the Arab world portrays the West, especially the US, in a biased way as well.

Read the book for the information it provides but keep an open mind. ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 9, 2017 |
Second edition. The title has a dual meaning: reporting on ("covering") a mythical monolith called "Islam" while also concealing ("covering") the truth about Muslims in all their difference. Edward Said uses the case of "Islam" to indict the U.S. media's superficial take on the world in general. He's right, you know.
  Muscogulus | Jul 29, 2012 |
Predicted the rise of mainstream Islamophobia decades before it was given license in America after 9/11. A great read. ( )
1 vote jonathon.hodge | Feb 26, 2009 |
In Covering Islam, Edward W. Said makes some vitally important points that remind us that our relationship with many countries (and not just in the countries/cultures/peoples who are Arabic or Islamic or in the Middle East) is informed by a media that does not always do justice to the people they cover -- in many cases, the media generalizes and demonizes. Making one of the most important points in the book, Said reminds us that Islam (like "Christendom" or "the West" or any broad cultural category) is not a monolithic homogeneous structure, but that many journalists, pundits, spokespeople, and citizens see and portray it as such.

Said cites many examples of journalists (and academics) who fall into lazy habits when looking at and writing these cultures. Unfortunately, it seemed to me that Said makes many generalizations himself, about American media and journalists (although, to be fair, he does give some examples in the last chapter of academics and writers who he believes have a more broad and insightful and accurate viewpoint) which made it harder for me to stay engaged with the book.

Finally, I wanted to know his solutions and suggestions, not just the problem. If everything an American journalist or adademic touches in a country such as Iran or Iraq or Afghanistan is tainted by post-colonialism and oil and government, how can the average person learn about that part of the world in a genuine manner? What information is trustworthy? Said has told us the problem, or part of it, but did not seem, in this book anyway, to offer solutions.
(at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0679758909/qid=1136313442/sr=8-13/ref=sr_8_xs_a... ) ( )
2 vote libby | Jan 3, 2006 |
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In order to make a point about alternative energy sources for Americans, Consolidated Edison of New York (Con Ed) ran a striking television advertisement in the summer of 1980.
Introduction: This is the third and last in a series of books in which I have attempted to treat the modern relationship between the world of Islam, the Arabs, and the Orient on the one hand, and on the other the West, France, Britain, and in particular the United States.
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"In this landmark work, for which he has written a new Introduction, one of our foremost public thinkers examines to origins and repercussions of the media's monolithic images of Islam. Combining political commentary with literary criticism, Edward Said reveals the hidden assumptions and distortions of fact that underlie even the most "objective" coverage of the Islamic world. In so doing, Covering Islam continues Said's lifelong investigation of the ways in which language not only describes but also defines political reality."--BOOK JACKET.

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