Most of us here, probably realize that Fox News is a major outlet for spreading bigotry against Muslims, however, as Max Fisher, points out, they’re only part of the problem.
On September 17, 2001, President George W. Bush gave his “Islam is peace” speech from the Islamic Center of Washington DC, tucked into a leafy stretch of embassy row. He urged the country to embrace “fellow Americans” who are Muslim as well as Islam itself “with respect,” explaining to a country full of “anger and emotion” that the jihadists who’d struck a few days earlier were insane outliers and not representative of the religion.
Since then, there has been a tension in how Islam is discussed in American media, and especially in its most populist and popular form, television. Americans typically follow Bush’s advice, but sometimes they struggle, particularly when violent extremist groups are in the news. In recent days, that strain of Islamophobia in the US has risen along with media attention to the attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo, reaching crisis levels — particularly on American TV news. While this is often discussed as a problem of Fox News, in fact both left-leaning outlets and CNN participate as well,
normalizing and mainstreaming subtler forms of Islamophobia that may well be even more damaging.
Because 38 percent of Americans say they personally know someone who is Muslim, most of us rely on the media to shape our opinions of Muslims and of Islam. And the media is badly failing in its responsibilities to portray Muslims carefully and accurately. It has forgotten Bush’s entreaty, leaving Americans more ignorant about and more hostile toward the 2.6 million Muslim-Americans living in the United States, to the vast and diverse world of 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, and to the Muslim populations of the Middle East and South Asia with whom our foreign policy, and often our military, is so heavily engaged.