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Extremism talk in the media: The Elite 8

Brackets for the 2016 NCAA men's basketball tournament
Brackets for the 2016 NCAA men's basketball tournament

Our recent study of how media cover violent extremism generated a lot of data about the awful links that media outlets portray between extremism and Islam, for example, and about how we can’t help but to respond to violence with violence. We’ll be talking about this A LOT once we’ve got all our data points ready to share. In the meantime, we wanted to get in on the March Madness action with our own version of the Elite 8: the eight most quoted sources in news articles about extremism.

So who gets quoted most often in major media coverage of violent extremism? Let’s go to the board.


By Pete Souza (White House photographer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

#8 The president or a White House official (quoted in 46 articles)


 No surprises there!#7 The U.S. military (quoted in 48 articles)


Oregon standoff makes headlines, courtesy of Tony Webster (CC)
#6 A member of an extremist group (quoted in 68 articles)

Hoop Dreams, courtesy of Tone Burke (CC)#5 An NGO (quoted in 94 articles)


These guys are the real experts#4 An analyst or “expert” (quoted in 107 articles)

 Just some everyday people on a regular street#3 A “local resident” (quoted in 111 articles)

Although none of them were *flying* g-men#2 A “local official” (quoted in 166 articles)



#1 Another media outlet or journalist (quoted in 167 articles)


Surprised? We weren’t. Maybe we would have expected a little bit more from so-called experts, but we’ll write about that another time. Not surprised either? Tell us about it in the comments.


About the Author

AREAS OF EXPERTISE: Communications research | Analytics | Social inequality. Beth leads AFSC’s messaging and opinion research, which she uses to develop evidence-based communications guidance for advocates and citizens to ‘change the narrative’ on war and violence. Prior to AFSC, Beth’s research and professional work focused on health inequality in the Americas.