In this Report, we examine 2018 coverage of five significant American racial, ethnic, or religious groups: African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, Jews, and Muslims. Latinos and African Americans are the largest of these groups, constituting approximately 16% and 13% of the US population, respectively. Asian Americans are the next most numerous, at roughly 5%. Jews and Muslims make up much smaller proportions of the American population, at approximately 2% and 1%, respectively.
We address key questions about media coverage of these groups: Are some mentioned more frequently in US newspapers than others? How positive or negative is coverage of these groups, and why? How does 2018 compare to earlier years in terms of the amount and the tone of coverage? What themes are present in the reporting of all five groups, and which were distinctive to each in 2018?
In brief, our analyses show that coverage of Muslims stands out as being both the most frequent and the most negative by a wide margin. This is principally due to reporting on foreign conflict zones. Articles mentioning Asian Americans are also distinctive for their relative rarity and for their association with more positivity than any other group, although by a small margin. Across our five groups, politics and education tend to be the most prevalent themes of coverage, culture is associated with the most positivity, and law and order is most closely linked to negativity.