Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Speak No Evil- Networks Obscure Deadly Extremism of Muslim Brotherhood

ABC, NBC and CBS news programs have mentioned the Muslim Brotherhood 135 times in 17 years, but only linked them to fundamentalist Islam 37 percent of the time. Just since the unrest in Egypt began in January, they've mentioned the Brotherhood 85 times, and decreased how often they report the nature of the group - just 32 percent of those stories mentioned the group's extremism.

Declaring "jihad" against the United States. Taking credit for deadly bombings in Cairo. Sponsoring Hamas. Assassinating Egyptian leaders. Making common cause with Nazi Germany. Openly calling for shariah law. Spawning prominent al-Qaida leaders.

Only the liberal network news media could paint a group with a resume like that as "peaceful" and "moderate." But that's precisely how the broadcast networks have often portrayed the Muslim Brotherhood.

For more than 17 years, since the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the news programming on ABC, CBS, and NBC have treated the Muslim Brotherhood with kid gloves, giving the radical Islamic group a passing mention here or there, but hardly ever exploring on air its fundamentalist religious connections and extreme ideology. Instead the Brotherhood was "relatively peaceful," "non-violent" and responsible for "charitable works."

One reporter allowed her guest to claim Americans have an irrational fear "of all Islamic groups, including ones that are relatively peaceful, like the Muslim Brotherhood-Brotherhood in Egypt."

The Culture and Media Institute searched for network stories mentioning the Muslim Brotherhood going back to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Since then, ABC, CBS and NBC have mentioned the group in 135 news broadcasts, but disclosed its connection to fundamentalist Islam in only 37 percent of the stories.

In the wake of the Egyptian uprising in January 2011, coverage has only grown worse. The networks mentioned the Muslim Brotherhood in a whopping 85 reports, but only a third of those (32 percent) linked the group to its Islamic fundamentalist roots.

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