Missing religion: Second level agenda setting and Islam in American newspapers

Brian J. Bowe, Shahira Fahmy, Wayne Wanta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Second level agenda setting offers a way of demonstrating the effects of news content by providing evidence that the attributes emphasized in news coverage become more salient in the minds of media consumers and more influential in terms of actual effects on opinions and attitudes. This exploratory study examines the substantive and affective attributes of the religion of Islam in coverage of 18 US newspapers and compares those attributes with results of a Gallup Center for Muslim Studies poll to determine whether a relationship exists between the coverage of Islam and public perception, as the second level of agenda setting suggests. Two hypotheses were tested. The results showed that attributes related to Islam were overwhelmingly covered in negative terms. However, the analysis of media coverage of attributes linked to the 'object' of Islam and public perceptions of Islam suggested little support for attribute agenda setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)636-652
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Communication Gazette
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Agenda setting
  • Islam
  • newspapers
  • religion
  • second level agenda setting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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