Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Today the good people at FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) released an expose on the spread of Islamophobia in the news media. Aptly defined as "Smearcasting," the report profiles 12 of the leading pundits and media figures who engage in bigotry, fear-mongering and misinformation in order to gin up anti-Muslim sentiment amongst their viewers and listenership. Among the most flagrant offenders are FOX News talk show hosts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, talk radio's Michael Savage, CNN's Glenn Beck, along with right-wing activists Michelle Malkin, Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz.

As noted in a press release by the media watchdog group, the document "describes a loose network of right-wing, anti-Muslim partisans who regularly use innuendo, questionable sources of information and even lies to smear, and effectively marginalize, Muslim Americans in the media."

The full reprt can be downloaded in a PDF form here.

Excerpts from the press release are highlighted below:

This report takes a fresh look at Islamophobia and its perpetrators in today's media. We found prominent right-wing pundits and activists using misinformation and innuendo to broadcast hate against an entire community -- in this case, Muslims -- and major media have either fallen asleep at the wheel or, in many cases, have actively helped to spread the smears.--Steve Rendall, senior analyst at FAIR.

These Muslim-bashing attacks have a real impact, not only on Muslims in America but on our civil discourse. We're in the middle of a historic election in which Islamophobia has already played a role, and I don't think we've seen the last of the dirty tricks and the smearcasting. Media need to step up and do their job of separating fact from innuendo, and they should distinguish the impartial experts from the smearcasters.--Steve Rendall, senior analyst at FAIR.

The report features case studies of the impact of smearcasting including:

Right-wing pundit Daniel Pipes led a successful campaign to oust the principal of a secular Arabic-language New York City public school by initiating a media-driven pressure campaign. The principal's history of forging inter-faith and inter-ethnic alliances was ignored as the campaign branded her a "stealth Islamist," and media pressure eventually forced her to resign.

Conservative columnist and Internet activist Michelle Malkin pressured Dunkin' Donuts into dropping an ad featuring celebrity chef Rachael Ray wearing a black-and-white scarf -- which Malkin falsely identified as a keffiyeh, calling it a symbol of "murderous Palestinian jihad."

To download a copy of the report visit:

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