The Media and Islam
This week at On Faith, we are discussing how the media handle religion. Needless to say, I have some less than complimentary opinions on how the media reports on Muslim communities and the total conflation of Islam and Muslim in the media.
To me, three glaring issues stand out:
(1) an enormous double standard on reporting crimes by Muslims; (2) a gross oversimplification of a vastly complex community into angry men with beards and demure women with scarves or face veils; and (3) the incredible levels of vitriol, misinformation, and neo-McCarthyism of talk show hosts.
The article is rather lengthy, but conveniently broken up into sections, with subtitles and all. (See, academic writing does have a purpose after all! It teaches us when to use subheadings...jk)
John Esposito also wrote in. Our essays overlap, although mine is worded more strongly, and his explores other faiths in the media as well.
Susan Jacoby also presents an interesting point of view that the media have really started kowtowing to religion in general. She points out that news writers regularly include closing phrases about how the anchor will keep victims (like, for instance, of Katrina or the tsunami) in their prayers. And reporting about the religious persuasions of politicians is almost required. I agree with her, and think this is a dangerous trend. Atheists or those who simply couldn't care less, should not be ignored as part of our religious landscape, but there is a trend towards ignoring that 20% of our community, especially in public spaces.
Anyway, you can find the posts here