In Havez’s chapter on international reporting, he says that although it is hard to prove that media caused the “fear and aversion” that 70-80% of Germans feel towards Islam, the hypothesis that they bear some of the responsibility is “highly plausible” (page 43). I think our media were very delicate in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 in differentiating between terrorists and Muslims, but now I think parts of our media are responsible for a growing anti-Islam sentiment in America.
I have discussed the irresponsibility of Fox News a number of times in my blog, but bear with me as I do so again. Recently one of the increasingly belligerent Fox “news” pundits claimed that all terrorists are Muslim, which is not remotely true. Even in the United States we had Timothy McVeigh not that long ago, and throughout the rest of the world you have violence for the sake of advancing extremist beliefs from nearly every religion. The only way that to justify the statement that there are only Muslim terrorists is if you define terrorism as ‘Muslims attacking America.’
We see this growing intolerance in a church burning the Quran, and while there was an outcry in the U.S. that this was awful, it was during a time when many were also protesting our own constitution and trying to establish a ban on an Islamic Community Center that would take over the location of a Burlington Coat Factory two blocks from Ground Zero. Founded by a man who has spoken publicly about the reprehensible actions of Islamic Fundamentalists, and has preached peace and tolerance. This should not have been a big news story, but instead it dominated media coverage for months. Our media has done what Germany’s did. It has fostered intolerance and fear rather than reporting facts and facilitating a greater comprehension of the world and its problems.