Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Islamaphobic US Media

The corporate-owned, mainstream media is coming under justified criticism for rushing to blame Islam for the bombing and shootings yesterday in Norway, attacks for which, police say, a Conservative Christian has confessed. The media watchdog web site The Spy Report sums it up nicely:

It would be easy to dismiss these criticisms as the product purely of hindsight. But media organisations and their journalists were in a position throughout to make careful and considered judgements about how they approached the story when access to verifiable information was still patchy. Instead, too many of them chose to engage in an irresponsible game of assumptions and presumptions

The rush to condemn Islam whenever there is a incident of violence is the consequence of several developments: continual warmongering and demonization of those the US elite wants to kill by successive US governments, the media's complicity in that, the lack of standards and a sense of ethics within the media -- recall the New York Times Judith Miller and her front page transcriptions of easily verifiable fabrications in the lead-up to the War Against Iraq. Recall the platform given by the mainstream media to racists like Pamela Gellar, Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck. Recall everything Fox news does. Recall Nancy Grace of CNN, who as a Georgia prosecutor was charged three times with ethics violations and now makes a living judging high profile criminal cases from a distance without any evidence.

Among those irresponsibly blaming Islam for the Norway attacks were the New York Times, the Washington Post, Reuters, and of course, of course, you knew they would, Fox News. The New York Times has altered its story but added material excusing its earlier rush to judgment.

The Spy Report's commentary is here. Media Matters comments here.


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