Mission Invisible
320 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Nov 2014
Release Date:01 Mar 2014
Release Date:01 Mar 2014

Mission Invisible

Race, Religion, and News at the Dawn of the 9/11 Era

UBC Press

The attacks of 9/11 created a philosophical and cultural shockwave felt around the world. For many Canadians, 9/11 also produced feelings of insecurity, vulnerability, and suspicion of “Muslims” in general. Being Muslim was often seen as being Arab, and diverse Muslim communities were glossed over as if they were invisible. How did these negative attitudes come about?

Many point to the role of the news media in framing and contextualizing events and its complicity in reproducing racist images of Muslim minorities. Strikingly lacking from media analyses, however, is a focus on the most significant stage of reportage: the initial weeks in which the events, surrounding issues, and primary actors of 9/11 were all first framed by journalists. The authors of Mission Invisible chronicle varying racialized constructions of Muslim communities in the news during these initial weeks. Through detailed examination of the naturalized underrepresentation and misrepresentation of Muslim communities, they map the production of racist ideology in the news, parsing textual productions to locate complex patterns of rhetorical devices, dramatic structure, and discursive themes.

In showing how media coverage of Muslim communities was imagined, negotiated, and represented after 9/11, Mission Invisible provides much-needed empirical evidence of how racist discourses are constructed and reinforced by the media in a unique Canadian setting where linguistic and cultural communities are often in contention.

Media communication specialists and students, anti-racist and critical scholars, and others interested in racism in the media would be well-served by this book.

Anyone interested in the cultural, organizational, and procedural biases in the news media that result in racial stereotyping must read this meticulously researched and compellingly analyzed study of the mass-mediated (mis)representation of Canada’s Muslim communities following 9/11. Brigitte Nacos, co-author of Selling Fear: Counterterrorism, the Media, and Public Opinion
Mission Invisible adds immensely to our understanding of the media’s role in shaping attitudes about diverse people in our communities – people whose alleged ‘difference’ makes them unwelcome and possibly even dangerous. Essential reading for those in media and communication studies, it will also be welcomed by those studying the framing of race, ethnicity, and transnationalism. Frances Henry, co-author of Discourses of Domination: Racial Bias in the Canadian English-Language Press
Ross Perigoe and Mahmoud Eid should be applauded for uncovering the ongoing media discrimination faced by Muslims; their book analyzes some of the most passively accepted yet outrageous statements made after the tragedy of 9/11. Without this scholarship, we risk having a chauvinistic period of journalism lost to our collective memory. C. Darius Stonebanks, co-editor of Teaching against Islamophobia
Ross Perigoe was an associate professor of journalism at Concordia University. Mahmoud Eid is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Ottawa.


Introduction: Mission Visible?


Why 9/11 and Canada?

Why Racism?

Why Muslims?

Why The Gazette?


1 Mission Recognition

The Event

The Medium

The Moment

The Message

The Method

The Procedure

2 Mission Ambition

Impact of the Media

Journalists’ Agendas

3 Mission Decision

The Rhetoric of Racism

The Discourse of Racism

The Discourse of Anti-Racism

4 Mission Oppression

The Discourses of Grief

The Discourses of Justification for War

The Discourses of Readying for War

The Discourses of Orientalism

5 Mission Perception

Shock and Disbelief




Personal Safety


Racial Profiling

Fear and Moral Panic


Impact on Quebecers

6 Mission Opposition

Descriptive Analysis of Muslims’ Voices

Discursive Themes of Muslims’ Voices

The Discourse of the “Good” Muslim

7 Mission Position

Writings on Leaders’ Voices

Writings on White Victims’ Voices

Writings on Muslims’ Voices

8 Mission Envision

Representations of Leaders’ Voices

Representations of White Victims’ Voices

Representations of Muslims’ Voices

9 Mission Completion

The Journalistic Process in Context

Newsgathering Practices

The Effects of the Messages

The Anti-Terrorism Act

Racial Profiling

10 Mission Condition

The Gazette: Success or Failure?

White Readership

Muslim Readership

Journalistic Leadership

Conclusion: Mission Invisible!

Why Invisible?

Correcting Vision

Hindsight 20/20

Notes; References; Index

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