The Media Is Also Culpable In The N. Carolina Triple Murder
02 February 2015
By Khalid Amayreh
Western, especially American, reactions
to this week's cold-blooded murder of three innocent Muslim college students
in North Carolina have been grossly inadequate.
Major American news networks, have, more or less, treated the monstrous crime
as a passing banality. Critical questions that ought to be asked were never
asked, which means the stage is set for the perpetration of the next act of
murder targeting Muslims.
True, the alleged murderer was detained by the police. However, the American
media was also culprit in this crime and bears an important part of the blame
for its occurrence.
The unrelenting Islamphobic discourse, that we keep hearing and watching in
the U.S., does make the perpetration of such a crime inevitable. It would be
dishonest to claim otherwise.
This is not a far-fetched analysis of an "isolated incident" as some pundits
might be prompted to argue. In the final analysis, anti-Muslim racism in the
United States has assumed phenomenal proportions due to the constant
defamation of Islam and Muslims by a brashly hostile media.
Needless to say, this hate-mongering has caused many Americans to lump all
Muslims in one basket. Thus, all Muslims, near and distant, are portrayed as
carbon copies or at least potential carbon copies or prototypes of Osama Bin
Laden or Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi.
But this portrayal is actually inaccurate. The vast majority of Muslims, I
would say 99.99% are normal and peaceful people who are, like most Americans,
busy making a decent living, raising their kids, supporting their families,
and trying to make ends meet.
I strongly believe that this fact is well known to most media owners and
editors who probably chose to ignore it for reasons having to do with bigotry
and vindictiveness against Muslims.
In other words, this is not an expression of ignorance of the truth but
rather a malicious and reckless disregard of it. Yes, it is an expression of
willful dishonesty by much of the American media. And that is a real problem.
Of course, we cannot lump all American media in one negative category.
Newspapers such as the Christian Science Monitor can't be considered a carbon
copy of the New York post or the New Republic.
But, unfortunately, the level-headed press has been reduced to a faint voice
in a deep valley in a jungle of gung-ho media outlets where the dearth of
honesty is conspicuous.
None the less, being "ignorantly dishonest" is not an excuse. In the final
analysis, maligning a religious or ethnic community will sooner or later lead
to murder or mass murder. We don't have to go back many decades to
demonstrate the evil power of incitement, especially when the targeted
audience is uninformed, misinformed or dis-informed.
The recent genocidal episodes in Mynamar and the Republic of Central Africa
are hair-raising examples of what public incitement could do.
We also do know that the holocaust didn't start with Auschwitz or other
concentration camps. It rather started with Mein Kampf and other expression
of hatred for Jews.
Where is the outrage?
The murderous killing of three young and innocent American Muslims is by no
means an isolated incident or thunder on a clear day. It is rather the
inevitable effect of an undeniable cause and the cause is the affronting
anti-Islamic discourse that we keep watching on Fox News and so-called
"Christian" TV programs.
That is why responsibility for spilling the blood of the three innocent
victims in North Carolina doesn't solely lie with the direct killer, but also
with a morally callous media that made the killing inevitable.
I am not trying to restrict press freedom. However, a free press must also be
a responsible press.
But a responsible press can't be truly responsible unless it is well-informed
and well-aware of the facts. Otherwise, the press, whether knowingly or
unknowingly, would succumb to the Steve Emerson phenomenon whereby citizens
are spoon-fed half-truths, disinformation and pure lies by charlatans
presented as "experts" on Islam.
As a Muslim and journalist who, by the way, studied and lived long in the
United States, I am appalled by the lack of western indignation at crimes
against Muslims, whether in the West itself, or indeed, in Palestine and
This is moral hypocrisy in broad daylight. It is outrageous and therefore
unacceptable. We are all human beings, created by the same God. We should be
equal. Our blood should be equal. Our lives should be equal.
The fact that we are not equal in reality is not the result of an ineluctable
fate. It is rather the result of the prevalence of an evil mentality which
keeps pushing our world to the abyss.
Will we wake up before it is too late?
Khalid Amayreh is a veteran Palestinian journalist and political
commentator living in occupied Palestine