These courses are 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 tenth 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 Hamas-linked CAIR are routinely 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 Faisal Abdul Rauf or any of the others would never believe even possible.
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, Texas; and Muhammad Hussain, the would-be jihad bomber in Baltimore; and Mohamed Mohamud, the would-be jihad bomber in Portland; 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, North Carolina; 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.
"USA/Islam-Press: US Journalists Taught How to Cover Islam," from IINA, September 18:
WASHINGTON, 20 Shawwal/18 Sept (IINA)- 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.
“In our increasingly polarized media landscape, having the facts about any topic is vital to good journalism,” said Howard Finberg, director of interactive learning at the Poynter Institute, reported Ahlul Bayt News Agency.
“And this is especially important when covering topics such as religion.”
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 is designed to prepare reporters to run accurate information when reporting about Muslims and Islam-related issues.
“We have no ax to grind, other than a desire to see accurate, balanced reporting of this topic, which has such broad impact on American society today,” said Lawrence Pintak, a former CBS News Middle East correspondent who developed the project.
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.
“Our e-learning module on NewsU is an effective and accessible way for journalists to get the training they need to cover Islam and Muslims in America,” Finberg said.
In addition to the online course, a version with more readings and analysis called “Islam on Main Street” is offered through WSU’s Center for Distance Education.
Sections about the diversity of religious expression, women and Islam, and Islam and the black community are also planned.
Though it is mainly initiated for journalists, bloggers and students, the course is also useful to educators, government officials and anyone involved in the conversation about Islam in America.
Reporters will be instructed by top-notch journalists and academicians, who have a long experience in reporting about Islam and Muslims.
“We turned to the scholars who know this subject inside out and helped them present their knowledge in a way accessible to general assignment reporters on deadline,” Pintak, said.
In addition to Pintak, instructors also include Stephen Franklin, a former Chicago Tribune Middle East correspondent, who spent years covering the Muslim world.
Pintak said the online course offers the kind of education about the Muslim community that he wished he had received before he was assigned by CBS to Beirut 30 years ago.
“I had been reporting on wars in Africa, so I knew how to dodge bullets. Of Islam, the dominant religion in the region, I knew essentially nothing,” Pintak said.
Hostile sentiments against US Muslims, estimated between six to eight million, have been on the rise since the 9/11 attacks.
A US survey has revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith....
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, head of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the US largest Jewish movement, had also accused US media and politicians of demonizing Islam and portraying Muslims as “satanic figures”,
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.