By: Isabel Macdonald
Posted on: The Huffington Post
Excerpts from this good article:
In the midst of remarkably cynical election-time mud-slinging, the Obsession campaign is truly in a class of its own...
For the groups behind the film's distribution, the goal seems pretty clear: Scare the holy hell out of millions of voters in swing states about a possible Muslim takeover of the U.S. It's hard to see the targeting of electoral battlegrounds as anything other than an attempt to help John McCain get elected -- perhaps by capitalizing on the widespread whispering campaign that Obama is a "secret Muslim."
And one has to admit that the Obsession campaign's marketing plan has been quite slick...
There has really just been one small glitch in the plan: The public doesn't seem to be buying it. Newspapers that carried the DVD have faced floods of complaints from readers, and the past week has seen protests and press conferences denouncing the film.
The problem, it would appear, is that many readers simply do not accept the notion their newspaper should provide a cover for hate propaganda...
The public, it turns out, is a much a tougher sell than the corporate media. Major corporate media outlets have for years been citing the anti-Muslim pundits featured in Obsession as "experts."
For example: Steve Emerson has been invited regularly on NBC and described as an "anti-terror expert," despite the fact his research has been repudiated many times over. This is an "expert" who initially blamed the Oklahoma City bombing on Middle Eastern terrorists, and who is now going around claiming that the Bush State Department is collaborating with extremists.
And then there's Daniel Pipes. While he's repeatedly been cited by the media as an "expert" on Islam and the Middle East, he has warned that "the presence, and increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims" entail "true dangers" for American Jews...
Just a month before a critical election, there are no signs that the anti-Muslim mud-slinging campaign is going away. In fact, the secretive nonprofit called the Clarion Fund behind the Obsession campaign just came out with a brand new DVD, The Third Jihad, featuring Mark Steyn -- who, as FAIR's new report documents, has warned of the "demographic decline" posed by Europe's emerging Muslim population, and suggests there are lessons for Europeans in the Balkan example of ethnic cleansing.
You can read all about Emerson, Pipes and Steyn in a new report that's just been released called "Smearcasting: How Islamophobes Spread Fear, Bigotry and Misinformation" . The report profiles 12 top anti-Muslim pundits, including prominent talk show hosts Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.
The media's long record of failing to challenge (and often enabling) anti-Muslim smears should leave us quite worried about how this final leg of election '08 will play out: Will the media continue to provide a platform to the anti-Muslim smear machine, or will they uphold standards of responsible journalism?
- Hussam Ayloush
- Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html