Study: Middle Eastern actors ignored by TV

Olivia Newton-John
Updated 12 September 2018
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Study: Middle Eastern actors ignored by TV

  • The study warned that such depictions can contribute to the rise of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant sentiment in American society

LOS ANGELES: Actors and characters of Middle Eastern and North African descent are either ignored by TV or stereotyped, according to a new study by a California-based university.
The few such actors who get work are largely confined to playing tyrants and terrorists, said the study released Monday.
One percent of regularly seen TV series actors have roots in countries including Egypt and Turkey. But estimates show about 3 percent of the US population, 10 million people, are from the region, said the study’s lead author, Biola University associate professor Nancy Wang Yuen.
Researchers who examined 242 scripted prime-time series on broadcast, cable and streaming during the 2015-16 season found that between 90 percent and 97 percent had no characters of Middle Eastern or North African ethnicity.
When those characters do appear, 78 percent are tyrants or trained terrorists, agents or soldiers, the study said. Most speak with obvious foreign accents.
The study warned that such depictions can contribute to the rise of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant sentiment in American society.


Rake news: Social media ablaze on Trump’s forest remarks for Finland

Updated 19 November 2018
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Rake news: Social media ablaze on Trump’s forest remarks for Finland

  • US President Donald Trump claimed the forest-covered nation prevents wildfires by raking its forest floors
  • Raking-related terms were among the most popular Twitter hashtags and Google searches in the Nordic nation

HELSINKI: Social media in Finland was ablaze with bemused comments on Monday after US President Donald Trump claimed the forest-covered nation prevents wildfires by raking its forest floors.
Speaking to reporters during the weekend while in California to see the impact of devastating forest fires, the US president again blamed forest management, but said Finland had the answer.
Trump cited the Finnish president as telling him Finns “spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things (in the forest), and they don’t have any problem.”
However the Nordic country’s president, Sauli Niinisto, told the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper on Sunday that he had no recollection of raking being mentioned when the pair met in Paris a week ago.
“I told him that Finland is a country covered in forests, but we also have a good warning system and network,” the president said.
Finnish social media users were quick to pile in, describing Trump’s comments as “rake news” and posting pictures of themselves brandishing the garden implement.
By late Sunday, raking-related terms were among the most popular Twitter hashtags and Google searches in the Nordic nation which is 72 percent covered by forests, predominantly of pine, birch and fir.
Meanwhile Yrjo Niskanen, head of emergency preparedness at Finland’s national forest center, said the US president may have been referring to the practice of removing branches and loose material left in the forest after logging.
But he pointed out that this is not done with a rake — and the wood is collected for energy production.
“I’ve never thought before that it could be removed because of the fire risk, that’s not mentioned in any forestry manuals. It’s taken away purely for business reasons,” Niskanen told the Iltalehti newspaper.