The mainstream media in the US, from Fox to NPR, have framed these protests through the simplistic lens of “anti-American violence in the Muslim world.” This framing communicates an entire world view that is taken for granted.
First, it discredits protest against the US by painting them as violent. This focus on violence, and on the sensational, allows the media to conveniently skip over the complex reasons why people in the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa might be angry with the US.
The racist film which portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer, a pedophile, a bumbling idiot, and a bloodthirsty fanatic and anti-Semite, is the tip of the iceberg. It has become a symbol of the disrespect with which the US holds people in Muslim majority countries, and has brought to the fore deep seated grievances against how the US conducts itself in the Middle East and elsewhere. Yet, this complexity is elided in favor of simplistic explanations and caricatures.
Second, by using the term “Muslim world” the media invite us to look at people in Muslim majority societies primarily through the lens of religion. While sections of the demonstrators are there to express outrage at the film, the focus on Islamist involvement in the protests to the exclusion of other voices casts this as a religious rather than a political confrontation. Thus, the protestors are presented not as political actors but religious zealots.
Third, what follows from this is that the US can be presented as an innocent victim, a misunderstood champion of democratic rights, secularism, and free speech, of the irrational fanaticism that we have come to expect from “those Muslims.” More here.