Clock Mistaken for Bomb

Posted on December 11, 2015 by


By Jackson Overkamp

Over the past few years the United States has become a very protective country, a country that has been criticized greatly for its sometimes lackluster racial profiling, and once again it happened again. The story is of a teenage boy who just happened to be of Muslim descent. Ahmed Mohamed had built a clock that he had wanted to show off to his teachers, the only issue was that faculty thought it was a bomb. Depending on the different types of media outlets you regularly choose to go to, you will instill a type of bias you have and maybe not allow you to see the clearest picture of the topic. Different news outlets will pick and choose what will most likely draw the best audience; so lets take a closer look at some news coverage revolving around this clock.


In this article written by Ashley Fantz, she wants to show that Ahmed was so excited to show his teachers what he had built, not knowing he would later be punished by it. Fantz goes on to show that social media went crazy over the story because they thought it was wrong he was arrested. The argument of the article is that the Ahmed was profiled because he was a Muslim. What it seems to me is that if the boy would have been nearly any other race this story would have never made the light of day because it would not have been thought of as a bomb. I believe that the article wants people to see that many people view all Muslims as terrorists, when in fact most are not, and do not condone terrorism.


In the article written by BBC it had mostly followed the same forum as from CNN. The article depicts Ahmed as the “good guy” and the teachers and police as the “bad guys”. BBC has a sense that they want the reader to feel sympathy for the teenager because of words like “very sad” and “I built a clock to impress my teacher” (Ahmed Mohamed)  are seen throughout the article. The coverage of this article definitely draws you in towards the article because it wants you to have a sense of feeling for the kid and anger towards the teachers and cops. Furthermore pictures like these may heighten your senses of sympathy for Ahmed.

CBS News:

In an article written by CBS Ahmed Mohamed did not think anyone was going to give him support because he said “I was Muslim and I didn’t think anyone would care about that” (Ahmed Mohamed). Many people including the President went out of their way to get on social media and show they were on his team. The general tone of the coverage in the article is how Ahmed is just an innocent kid who was put into a bad situation and being Muslim makes it worse. CBS News says, “he built a clock to impress his teacher and when he showed it to her Monday, she thought it was a threat towards her.”

New York Times:

In this article by Manny Fernandez I believe he wants to have to reader feel sympathy for Ahmed, which is becoming a theme in these articles. Josh Earnest of the White House press Secretary said, “This is a good episode of how stereotypes can prevent even good-hearted people…” The writer does not go into to detail on this quote but I feel what he is implying that people have this pre-conceived notion that all Muslims are bad when that is not the case.

Real Time with Bill Maher:

Bill Maher shows very little sympathy towards Ahmed which happens to be an outlier of the different sources. He shares a stereotype of what he thinks about Muslims which can come off harsh to people. Bill Maher said, “his teachers should be defended because most terrorists are usually Muslim.” This to me gives a negative impression on the subject because he thinks that most terrorists are Muslim and if one watches the show they might make his views as their own which could lead into bad situations. This video gives the notion that Muslims are bad people and needed to be closely watched which does not look for them.

ABC News:

In the article by Nicole Pelletiere did not show any sympathy towards Ahmed but also did not defend the teachers for mistaking the clock as a bomb so it was challenging to gain an impression on the article. In the article however she describes, “Mohamed was tinkering with the clock during class and plugged it into an electrical outlet when it began making noise” (ABC News). This gives a slight impression that maybe Ahmed was acting suspiciously  but also a bit of wonderment because most clocks make some type of noise when being plugged in. This is an article where it is hard to gauge who she is in favor with but that does not necessarily make it a bad article.

Time Magazine:

In the article written by Justin Worland he is very short his piece. His point of view that is being promoted is that of Ahmed. He says how Ahmed built a clock that teachers had mistaken for bomb. The “good guy” appears to be Ahmed, however he is very vague in his article. Their are emotions in the coverage that stir up because he says potentially why Ahmed was arrested, “Mohamed’s arrest led to uproar on social media with many alleging that the teen had been the victim of profiling because he was Muslim” (Time Magazine).

Al Jazeera America:

The article by Marisa Taylor shows sympathy on behalf of Ahmed with thoughts from his parents like, “He just wants to invent good things for mankind, but his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated” (Ahmed’s father). The impression this article gives is a little different from the other articles because it shows that Ahmed’s first few teachers thought it was a nice clock but said he should not show it to anyone else. It was not until an afternoon class that a teacher finally thought it was a bomb. This writer seems like a reliable source because she goes out of her way to describe the scene, many of the other articles did not express that prior teachers did not think it was a bomb.

Fox News:

In the article by Fox News it is fairly easy to find and many of the articles all together seem to have the same back bone and this is no different. Fox News wants to illustrate that Ahmed was singled out because he was a Muslim. This coverage as it pertains to religion arouses that being a Muslim in this country is getting harder and harder because so much racial profiling is going on now a days.

Dallas Morning News:

In this last article by Avi Selk, she wants to portray right out of the article that Ahmed will not be filed for charges. I think she does this because she feels like it is the most important part of the story. She provides insight that the police would have arrested anyone who would have affiliated  with the clock looking like a bomb regardless of what the person looked like. I find this to be more likely than not a false statement because of the racial profiling that goes around in this country.

After taking a closer look at the (10) different sources I chose to go over this topic I found almost the same thing in every article. Most of the articles wanted to demonstrate sympathy towards Ahmed Mohamed  while only two had no issue  with cops getting involved. These articles wanted to portray to the public that racial profiling is an ever growing issue and just because you may be Muslim does not mean you are involved in terrorism. I believe that these authors are grounded in academic and personal knowledge of the topic because they all demonstrated they knew what was going on and why this young man was a victim to early assumptions. Lastly I believe this topic is deeply rooted with religion because the sole backbone of every article had to deal with why Ahmed was being accused of making a bomb and that was because he is Muslim. That does not make it right, however just because things are not right does not mean it will change.


Works Cited

Fantz, Ashley. “Ahmed Mohamed Brings Clock to School, Gets Arrested.” CNN 16 Sept. 2015.

“Ahmed Mohamed: No Charges for Boy, 14, Arrested over Clock.” BBC News. 16 Sept. 2015.

“Muslim Teen Cuffed over Clock Mistaken for Bomb.” CBS News. N.p., 16 Sept. 2015

Fernandez, Manny. “Handcuffed for Making Clock, Ahmed Mohamed, 14, Wins Time With Obama.” The New York Times. 16 Sept. 2015.

“Real Time with Bill Maher – Ahmed’s Clock Block (HBO).” YouTube. 18 Sept. 2015.

Pelletiere, Nicole. “Teen Arrested After His Homemade Clock Mistaken for Bomb.” ABC News. 16 Sept. 2015.

Worland, Justin. “See Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock That Was Confused for a Bomb.” Time. N.p., 16 Sept. 2015.

Taylor, Marisa. “Muslim Student Arrested for Building a Clock Mistaken for a Bomb.” Al Jazeera America. N.p., 16 Sept. 2015.

“Texas 14-year-old Arrested for Bringing Homemade Clock to School after Teacher Said It Looked like a Bomb.” Fox News. 16 Sept. 2015.

Selk, Avi. “Editorial: Overreaction in Clock-bomb Mix-up Has Chilling Effect.” Dallas News. N.p., 15 Sept. 2015.



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