In this classic work, now updated, the author of Culture and Imperialism reveals the hidden agendas and distortions of fact that underlie even the most “objective” coverage of the Islamic world.
From the Iranian hostage crisis through the Gulf War and the bombing of the World Trade Center, the American news media have portrayed “Islam” as a monolithic entity, synonymous with terrorism and religious hysteria. At the same time, Islamic countries use “Islam” to justify unrepresentative and often repressive regimes. Combining political commentary with literary criticism, Covering Islam continues Edward Said’s lifelong investigation of the ways in which language not only describes but also defines political reality.
While the 16 years that have passed since the first edition of this book hit the stands have been marked by an increase in sensitivity toward many ethnic, racial, and sexual minorities, the easy acceptance of stereotypes and prejudices in the portrayal, depiction of, and reporting about Islamic peoples has remained largely constant. In this updated version of this rigorous but engaging volume Edward Said looks at how American popular media has used and perpetuated a narrow and unfavorable image of Islamic peoples, and how this has prevented understanding while providing a fictitious common enemy for the diverse American populace.