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Immigrants Portrayed in the Media

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    To begin, in the article, “Uncertainty, Threat, and the Role of the Media in Promoting the Dehumanization of Immigrants and Refugees”, by Victoria Esses, Stelian Medianu, and Andrea Lawson, it is said that with immigrants coming into the western nations, a feeling of unease and uncertainty overcomes those that are not immigrants because then disease, refugees, and terrorists are brought in. Those non-immigrants will then have to think how society will deal with immigrants in the country and how will they fit, and due to the reason of them not knowing how the country would run, it places fear within them, and makes them see immigrants as a threat. With these citizens seeing immigrants as a threat it raises the negativity on them and is why negative things are portrayed in the media about this group. With media influencing everyone because they are a credible source those negatives thoughts stay present forever. They believe with this negative news attached to them, that they are enemies, the uncertainty will decrease, and they will not have to worry about immigrants in the country. People feel insecure leaving to call immigrants “enemies at the gate” (El Rafaie, 2001; Henry & Tator, 2002; Lynn & Lea, 2003). To test whether this negative news of immigrants being terrorists, refugees, and disease bringers affected the views of immigrants to non-immigrants, three research methods were conducted. There were cartoons in a reading that influenced immigrants bringing diseases and articles that had been changed up to where it wasn’t as easily distinguishable that there were so many negative things said about immigrants. Their “measures of dehumanization include explicit and implicit denial of the humanity of these groups” (Esses, p. 519). After conducting this research and even tweaking things to not state the obvious of immigrants, it was proven that media influences people to dehumanize immigrants because of what is said.

    To continue, in “Rebuilding or Intruding? Media Coverage and Public Opinion on Latino Immigration in Post-Katrina Louisiana” written by Johanna Dunaway, Robert Goidal, Ashley Kirzinger, and Betina Wilkinson, they mention that if you are white the news will cover up the story if a crime is committed but if one is a nonwhite you are looked at as a criminal, and everything is exposed, especially to minorities that are immigrants. The media plays a huge role in influencing one’s opinion and with the media stereotyping immigrants all the time, it makes everyone watching the news believe that immigrants are criminals and bring violence. Those negative facts the media give out to the world leaves a mark on people to remember how negative and bad immigrants are, not allowing for any positivity to come to their light for them. A case is investigated how those living in Louisiana experienced massive amounts of immigrants moving into Louisiana from the hurricane Katrina disaster and how their views were affected now that they’ve seen the media and must deal with them in their space. The project was “based on a statewide telephone survey of 1,228 adult Louisiana residents selected through random-digit dialing” (Dunaway, p. 924). Over forty percent of the respondents in each category admitted to immigration is an issue, too many immigrants were in their state, and many don’t know how to speak Spanish. The next thing articles were collected and overall proved that immigrants were portrayed as evil leaving negative opinions leaving for those who live in Louisiana to believe that as well.

    Next, in “The Mexicans in the News: Representation of Mexican Immigrants in the Internet News Media” it is explained that the reason the news on immigrants is so negative is because the immigrants themselves don’t have a voice in what is said in the media. Other people who are not immigrants and not a minority group are trying to speak for them, understand them, and fail to do so because they don’t understand and already have those negative thoughts due to other forms of negative media out there. The way the news writers write about them is by using “negative metaphors and framing” ( Kinefuchi, p. 333). They compare immigration to pollution, say they cause crime, are animals, and contaminants and the list goes on in many different articles. With this, a critical discourse analysis was made between sixty articles that talk about Mexican immigrants and were then able to determine five different tones on how one speaks about immigrants. The outcome was the tones of opposing, impersonal, empathetic, sympathetic and informal, and they came upon onto this conclusion by looking at register, connotation, omission, and others.

    Next, in “Perceived Hostile Media Bias, Presumed Media Influence, and Opinions about Immigrants and Immigration”, it explains that the reason many people are easily influenced that immigrants are bad is because they don’t have as much as intelligence as to someone who is well informed. Those that aren’t informed get their beliefs shaped so easily by the media. They make immigrants sound as a problem and that they all should be looking for ways to fix this problem and they also present them as being a crisis which then leads the uninformed to go by these statements. This was focused in North Carolina as their immigrant population increased over four hundred percent from it being only about two percent. Telephone surveys were conducted to those that lived in North Carolina and they were asked how immigrants were being portrayed in the media and “respondents generally believed that the news media coverage treated immigrants more favorably than unfavorably” (McKeever, p. 426). But the important factor is that they were asked if they saw immigrants on the news, how would they be portrayed? They all voted that they would be viewed negatively letting us know that media doesn’t have anything good to say about immigrants.

    Finally, this research reminded me of my own family. My parents are immigrants and a lot of my family members are and it just makes me think that they are really put under that category when a lot of people don’t know who they are. They don’t know how opposite they are from what the media says. Reading the research did get confusing at times for I knew statistics was present, but I couldn’t understand exactly what it meant, and due to the way sociologist think and me not grasping sociology yet, made it difficult. The research made perfect sense though, for they did their best to not create any bias and did analyze everything they were looking for. Due to that reason I was not skeptical as everything was done well.

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    Immigrants Portrayed in the Media. (2021, Dec 14). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/immigrants-portrayed-in-the-media/

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