Drones, maps and crescents: CBS News' visual construction of the Middle East

Cameron Riopelle, Parthiban Muniandy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the last two years, the authors have noticed in CBS World News online an increased reliance on graphics inset into news articles in place of photojournalism, particularly in articles about Middle Eastern conflicts. What are the emergent patterns of this change? By analyzing the visual symbolism of these graphics, they discuss a number of distinct patterns, which they interpret by examining the following aspects: disconnections in the article between the visual and written text; the use of an image bank in composing these images; the de-contextualization of maps as out of place; the conflation of Islam and the Middle East through the juxtaposition of Islamic symbols with those of current military conflicts; the prevalence and influence of Arab exceptionalism; and finally the representation of Islam as monolithic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-172
Number of pages20
JournalMedia, War and Conflict
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • CBS
  • Middle East
  • drones
  • maps
  • mass media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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