Actually, the anti-jihadists in question – such usual suspects as Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer, the Investigative Project on Terrorism’s Steven Emerson, and ACT! for America’s Brigitte Gabriel – have not “tried to tie American Muslims to terrorism” (the recently deceased al Awlaki did a pretty good job of that all by himself). They have merely exposed the American Muslims who have tied themselves to terrorism here and abroad. Somehow that “context” is never addressed in the Poynter Institute’s course.
In addition to suggesting that “bigoted” right-wing activists have over-inflated the threat of jihad, the course asks students to consider what “grievances” might “sources associated with ‘Political Islam’ hold against Western journalists.” This is a subtle use of the strategy that has worked so well for the Islamists and the Left as well: manipulating the West’s “colonialist” guilt and planting the blame for terrorism on the victims’ collective responsibility. The course also suggests that politicians’ stances toward Islamic issues stem more from base political motives than from their constituents’ legitimate concern about the creeping Islamization of America: “Politicians do not oppose or support proposed mosques and other Muslim-American projects without taking into account their own interests.”
Who’s behind “Covering Islam in America”? The Culture and Media Institute breaks down the incestuous Islamist support network connected to the course. The course is co-sponsored by the Social Science Research Council, partially funded through Soros’ Open Society Institute. The Poynter Institute, funded by The Knight Foundation, partnered with Soros’ Open Society Foundations to start the Investigative News Network. The Knight Foundation’s president and CEO, Alberto Ibarguen, is also on the board of yet another key Soros-backed group, the progressive investigative reporting start-up ProPublica.
The “core journalistic values underpinning the course,” the Poynter News University claims, “are truth, accuracy, independence, fairness, minimizing harm and context.” Truth, accuracy, and “independence” and “fairness” – by which they presumably mean objectivity – are certainly essential journalistic values (and in short supply in these times when advocacy journalism is the vogue). But “minimizing harm” and “context”? “Covering Islam in America,” under the guise of fairness and protecting Muslim-American communities from right-wing bigotry, is a propaganda tool for manipulating the media to whitewash concepts like jihad and shariah, and to turn criticism of the clear and present danger of Islamic fundamentalism back on its critics.
* A companion website, Islam on Main Street: A Crash Course for Domestic American Reporters, is offered through Washington State University’s Center for Distance Education.
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