Columnist Brian Fogel discusses how the limited scope of media coverage of refugee crisis fails to include its effects on Eastern nations.

Politics can’t be discussed without bringing up the rhetoric that is used by politicians and the media that cover them. With the recent rise of refugees coming from Syria, Iraq, Algeria and other Middle Eastern nations, mainstream media from the West has varied in its coverage of the situation, but little focus has been directed toward the East.

Most people are familiar with the way Fox News has reported on the crisis versus the manner in which publications like Vox have.

The former’s use of language is indicative of a more conservative and fearful view of Muslims who are fleeing to the European Union. The line from a world report by Benjamin Weinthal, “investigators have identified 680 hardcore Islamists in the German capital, nearly half of whom are ‘geared toward violence,’ ” is an example of the specific words used to alter the perspective. Calling people hardcore Islamists shouldn’t even be considered negative. The media could just as easily describe conservative Christians as “hardcore.” 

The latter, Vox, has had a markedly more liberal, outside viewpoint. With headlines like “The science behind why people fear refugees” or “Turning back Syrian refugees isn’t just wrong — it helps ISIS,” there is no reason to doubt that there is a more to-the-left outlook.

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A perspective of the issue from the East has all but been obscured. That lack of familiarity is not indicative, however, of a lack of coverage.

The Hong Kong Free Press, a well-respected, up-and-coming online news organization in China, has done some particularly in-depth reporting on the nature of rhetoric about refugees in China. Not unlike the way many U.S. politicians discuss refugees, Hong Kong’s government discourse has seen an increase in use of the phrase “illegal immigrants” to describe refugees and other migrants.

The value of hearing a Chinese perspective is immense. Victoria Wisniewski Otero’s report, “Negative rhetoric towards refugees hurts us all,” explains to the average Hong Kong citizen and outside readers that the problem of rhetoric is based on outstanding policies, similar to many policies in EU countries like Denmark and Hungary.

“This is because, technically, all people seeking protection in Hong Kong, even if they have a successful claim – even if they have been stuck here for years in limbo – are treated as “illegal over-stayers” according to the existing immigration regime,” Otero said.

Rarely has there been any real focus on the effects of this large refugee crisis outside of the Western world by the respective media, so in order to understand the issue as it pertains to every nation that is affected, readers must search for stories from those left out nations, like China.

Because the influx of refugees to other northern nations is the largest the world has seen since the end of World War II, there is pertinence in listening to the ways that every country is dealing with the issue.

Brian Fogel is a freshman studying journalism and a photographer for The Post. What have you read about refugees recently? Tweet him @FrianBogel or email him at bf111514@ohio.edu.

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