An Anti-Muslim Media?

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.

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4 Responses to An Anti-Muslim Media?

  1. Liza says:

    I think you are right that the media is both good and bad when distinguishing between terrorists and Muslims. It is amazing the different views that americans have about this subject matter and is frightening the contrast in views of american media on this subject too.

    I think this idea was exemplified with Chistiane Amanpours town hall special called “Islam in America” on Abc that aired at the end of September. After the media frenzy about the Islamic community center near Ground Zero, she invited leaders on each side to open a dialogue about Islam and terrorism in america. On one side you had those trying to pull apart and get rid of all the misconceptions about Muslims and Islam, and on the other side you had those trying to put those misconceptions right back into peoples minds.

    Once again, this show was a great demonstration about the contrast of those trying so hard to make sure they distinguish terrorists and Muslims, and then with those in the media that make sure they do not distinguish a difference.

  2. Skylar Hong says:

    It is a very good point i think, most people cannot make difference between Muslims, Islams, terrorists. Media definitely should take responsible for this because of the bias.

    There I would like to say that most people know the media make report with bias because of the political purpose and other reasons, so we should question what we see and we hear before we make our own judgement and opinions.

    There was an interesting investigation a couple of years ago when the topic about “freedom for Tibet” was very popular. Those people doing the investigation asked a lot of supporters of the freedom for Tibet where Tibet is, surprisingly, only a few people knew the anwser. I wonder if those people do not know what they are supporting, then how they surpport it?

    My point of view here is media should take responsible about the misinterpretation of facts, however, audience need to think twice before they make their judgement too.

  3. qiongxie says:

    I think you have some very good points about media’s responsibility of anti-Islam sentiment in the United States. As you point out about Fox news that “All terrorists are Muslims”, we know that the Fox news again over-generates the fact. The extremists are note equal to Muslim people as whole. I have several Muslim friends, they are very nice and they also feel bad for the Muslim extremists. They feel due to those Muslim extremists, the society will have prejudice against them just because they are Muslims.

    Another good example is the Canadian episodes of “The little Mosque on the Prairie” It talks about how hard for the Muslims to find a Mosque if they call for the leasing office they just want to rent a Mosque for religious practice. People will just refuse it.

  4. I think Americans care less and less about nuances of truth such as the distinction between who/what it means to be Muslim and “the people who bombed us.” It’s easier to place blame on a segment of population who individuals in general know very little about, perceive as foreign and different and who are perceived as usurpers. This is just one reason why I think discussions of a “post racial world are both premature and hypocritical and untruthful. As a society even if we defend another’s right to practice their religion, we balk at really bridging the divide. Just ask a Christian and a Jew to attend each other’s religious services as see the response you’ll get. Separate but equal is alive and kicking.

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