America's Desultory Religious Reporting

DanielPipes - 29 March 2009 - From Daniel Pipes

Of all the reporting on radical Islam in the United States, some of the least competent comes from precisely those reporters who should do the most outstanding job – those specializing in religion. I don't recall a single one of them producing a serious analysis of the Islamist groups that dominate Muslim communal life – the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim American Society, and the like. Instead, they invariably write puff-pieces.

Geneive Abdo.

Some examples, culled over the years (with the caveat that some of these reporters no longer cover religion):
  • Geneive Abdo of the Chicago Tribune, who spoke at the 2003 annual conference of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

  • David Crumm of the Detroit Free Press glorified an Islamist religious leader "Dearborn's Imam Qazwini: A champion for Islam's future."

  • Felix Hoover of the Columbus Dispatch, who was provided with meticulous, detailed information about problems at an Islamist school, the Sunrise Academy, only to ignore it.

  • Robert King of the Indianapolis Star, who covered the Islamic Society of North America convention as though it were the Elks or Masons.

  • Shirley Ragsdale of the Des Moines Register wrote a near hagiography of Ibrahim Dremali, still remembered for having exhorted a crowd in Florida, "not to be sad for the martyrs, or be afraid to die for what they believed in."

  • Bill Tammeus of the Kansas City Star wrote the memorably bad "Women of cover," a glorification of the hijab.

  • Teresa Watanabe of the Los Angeles Times, who celebrated an Islamist intellectual, Khaled Abou El Fadl as a "longtime champion of human rights" and for his "unflinching scholarship."

  • Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press, who naively accepted that a supposed anti-terror petition supported by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, "Not in the Name of Islam" is what it purports to be.

  • But – no surprise - my nominee for worst religion reporter goes to someone I have been watching since 2004:

    • Lorraine Ali of Newsweek, who seems not to "feel home" in the United States, who shills for Hussein Ibish, who cannot get basic facts right about Campus Watch, and much else.

    • Comment: (1) Is this incompetence a result of the mainstream media being so liberal that it cannot understand religion in general and radical Islam in particular? Probably. (2) As the MSM loudly laments its own demise, we conservatives see this as a mixed development, one that offers a chance for real improvement – and nowhere more than in the realm of reporting on religion. (March 29, 2009)