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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Effects of Fox News' Muslim Bashing

Media Matters has an interview with John L. Esposito, Georgetown University, about the deleterious effects on public opinion of the Muslim bashing on Fox News. In an email to Media Matters, Esposito wrote:
The cumulative effect of the confrontational rhetoric of Fox commentators like Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity who hammer away at portraying Islam and Muslims as fundamentally different contributes to a popular culture in which seeing 1.5 billion Muslims as potential enemies has become embedded. Too many Americans are developing an intolerant, irrational fears and even hatred not simply of extremists but of Islam and Muslims which has led to discrimination, harassment, and violence.
In particular, he focuses on the space and sympathetic treatment given to anti-Islamic crusaders like Brigitte Gabriel, on Fox, whom I have blogged about recently. Esposito describes a Gabriel as:
an entrepreneur, a professional Muslim basher. She, like [Pamela] Geller, [Robert] Spencer and company have no expert credentials in Islam or Muslim history and cultures, the very topics that they speak about. She is a fear monger pure, an Islamophobic culture warrior, and plays fast and loose to get the limelight and a career. What she and others excel at are simplistic generalizations and assertions, often choosing selective texts, individuals or events as if they were representative of the entire community.
Instead of focusing on extremism in America or Muslim extremists as a dangerous but very small percentage, she chooses to target the
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