The International Islamic News Agency (IINA) reported Sunday that “in a bid to run correct news reporting about Muslims, two American universities have launched a project to teach journalists how to tackle Islam-related issues. … Titled ‘Covering Islam in America,’ the project was co-launched earlier this week by Washington State University and the Poynter Institute’s News University.”
The course, we’re told, “is designed to prepare reporters to run accurate information when reporting about Muslims and Islam-related issues.” Developed by Lawrence Pintak, a former CBS News Middle East correspondent, the course “covers a wide range of topics on Islam ranging from the Islamic teachings and the history of Muslim immigration to the role of women in Islam and the relationship between Islam and Christianity.”
We certainly could use some accurate information about Islam. The mainstream media is universally fawning and obsequious when it comes to reporting about the global jihad and Islamic supremacism. Journalists consistently downplay or ignore altogether the invocations of the Koran and Muhammad’s example that Islamic jihadists make on a routine basis, and continually assume that any Muslim who is not actively engaged in terror activity is a “moderate”—as the jihadist Imam Anwar al-Awlaki was dubbed in a glowing portrayal in the New York Times shortly after 9/11.
But that is not the kind of accurate information that this course is preparing journalists to supply. “We have no ax to grind, other than a desire to see accurate, balanced reporting of this topic,” Pintak insisted, but his courses is actually predicated on the assumption that Muslims and Islam are getting negative press coverage. That is, of course, howlingly absurd. After every jihad plot and jihad attack, journalists fill their publications with stories about pious, wise Muslims fearing a “backlash”—that never comes. As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approached, the mainstream media was full of stories about how wise, pious Muslims were bearing up after a decade of discrimination and harassment—despite the fact that hate crimes against Muslims are much rarer than hate crimes against Jews and others. News reports about Islamic jihad activity routinely characterize the perpetrators as “militants” or “insurgents,” or if they’re lone-wolf jihadis, as suffering from emotional or psychological problems—never as what they are, Islamic jihadis.
Ibrahim Hooper, old “Honest Ibe” himself, and others from the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are frequently quoted in news stories as if they’re representatives of a neutral civil rights organization, while those who are trying to stem the advance of Sharia and Islamization in the West are just as routinely demonized in the press, hung with negative labels or undercut in their statements in a way that Hooper or Feisal Abdul Rauf or any of the others would never believe even possible.
The IINA report notes that “a recent British study accused the media and film industry of perpetuating Islamophobia and prejudice by demonizing Muslims and Arabs as violent, dangerous and threatening people.” This, too, is absurd. Going all the way back to the 1990s and the film version of Tom Clancy’s The Sum of All Fears, in which the jihadist villains were recast as neo-Nazis, the film industry has been just as anxious as the mainstream media to depict Muslims in a warmly positive light.
And yet after all this, we’re told that Americans still have a negative view of Islam? That isn’t because of biased media coverage. That’s because of Naser Abdo, the would-be second Fort Hood jihad mass murderer; and Khalid Aldawsari, the would-be jihad mass murderer in Lubbock, Tex.; and Muhammad Hussain, the would-be jihad bomber in Baltimore; and Mohamed Mohamud, the would-be jihad bomber in Portland, Ore.; and Nidal Hasan, the successful Fort Hood jihad mass-murderer; and Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square jihad mass-murderer; and Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, the Arkansas military recruiting station jihad murderer; and Naveed Haq, the jihad mass murderer at the Jewish Community Center in Seattle; and Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar, the would-be jihad mass murderer in Chapel Hill, N.C.; and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be Christmas airplane jihad bomber; and so many other Islamic jihad murderers and would-be murderers in America.
No number of seminars, no blizzard of fawning press coverage, is going to erase the impression those men and others like them have made upon non-Muslims in America. But I am sure academics and journalists will keep trying.