Local Fox news anchor wants to explain viewers “why Sikhs immigrated here,” and “what their religion is all about.” #templeshooting
Following Donald Trump’s lead, Fox News figures have recently embraced or promoted aspects of the birther conspiracy theory by falsely claiming that President Obama has not produced his birth certificate, or by hosting birthers to hype their discredited theories unchallenged.
Glenn Beck apologized for comparing Reform Judaism to “radicalized Islam,” saying on his Thursday radio show that he had made “one of the worst analogies of all time.”
Beck made the analogy on his Tuesday show. Reform rabbis, he said, “are generally political in nature. It’s almost like Islam, radicalized Islam in a way.” His comparison was “not about terror,” he stressed, but “about politics, and so it becomes more about politics than it does about faith.”
This brought swift condemnation from several different Jewish groups, most notably the Anti-Defamation League, which called the comments “bigoted.”
On Thursday, Beck delivered a lengthy mea culpa. “I was wrong on this,” he said. “I also apologize for it…I’ve always told you to do your own homework and in this case I didn’t do enough homework.
He said that his comments had been “ignorant,” and that, as soon as he made them, he knew that he had been wrong.
“It was a nightmare,” he said.
Following up on yesterday’s posts on the poll from the Public Religion Research Institute showing “a significant correlation between trust in Fox News and negative attitudes about Muslims,” Alex Seitz-Wald posts a chart that helps illustrate just how much more focused Fox News is on negative portrayals of Islam.
A conservative might argue that this just shows how complacent other networks are in the face of the “Islamofascist” threat. The problem is that much of Fox News’s coverage of Islam over the last year has been focused not on actual facts, but on the sort of fringe ideas about Islam in the United States that are rapidly becoming a permanent feature of the right wing culture war. Fox News spend a significant amount of time in the past year furthering the baseless conspiracy that most American mosques are radicalized, that the Obama administration has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, and that Muslims in the U.S. are trying to impose Sharia law.
Last year’s debate over the proposed Islamic community center blocks away from the ruins of the World Trade Center provided another opportunity for Fox News to peddle this stuff ad nauseum, with on-air personalities accusing the Imam of trying to impose Sharia, of having “ties to the Muslim Brotherhood” (at this point, who doesn’t?) and that the project would be funded by terrorists.
The events in Egypt have produced some similar results — but because conservatives have been less unified on the matter, there’s been more balance than usual in their coverage of the protests. Nevertheless, if you want to hear about the coming European caliphate Fox News is still the channel to watch.
The problem isn’t that Fox News viewers hear a lot of negative things about Islam, it’s they hear a lot of false things about Islam. Then, as the poll suggests, Republican viewers of Fox News come away thinking they’re genuinely informed about Islam, when the opposite is the case. That’s the worst part, because those views, once entrenched, are hard to dislodge. Conservatives frustrated with the right’s support for deposed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak might want to consider the monster they’ve helped create.