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Progressives, Muslims claim media bias re: killings of N. Carolina Muslims

An article in Huff Post College Thursday discusses the (supposed) shortcomings of the media coverage surrounding the murders of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Two of the victims were students at the University of North Carolina; the other was enrolled at NC State.

The author of the piece, Gabriel Arana, writes “… the media has come under fire both for not covering the attack sufficiently and for failing to report it as a hate crime.”

Uh oh — media bias?

It’s certainly true that, had the shooter been Muslim, the media would have been all over it. But just because some pundits have a habit of rushing to blame the perpetrator’s faith whenever a Muslim commits a crime doesn’t mean they should necessarily do the same when the roles are reversed. This isn’t to say the Chapel Hill shootings don’t deserve attention, but that bad reporting practices shouldn’t be the standard for good ones.

How does “the media” equal … “some pundits”?

At any rate, it is highly debatable as to how the media would have covered the event had the killer been a Muslim. In fact, many (most?) on the right have criticized mainstream media outlets for hesitating to make any mention of a killer’s religion when it happens to be Islam, even after it was known and was established as the basis for his actions.

Likely, part of the reason for the media’s reluctance is due to the fact that the president and his administration are loathe to make any mention of “Islam” and “terrorism” in the same sentence.

Arana continues: “It’s worth being wary whenever a developing news event starts to become a cause. When there’s an ideological investment in a narrative, it makes it harder to see the truth, or report any new information without being accused of bias.”

Indeed? Like “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” maybe? What about labeling the assailant of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, a “white Hispanic” — when in any other instance the media never adds the first word? (Heck, at Brown University, they’re not even bothering to call Zimmerman “Hispanic” anymore.)

Despite initial reports of the killer’s motive being an “ongoing neighbor dispute over parking,” The Daily Tar Heel, the University of North Carolina’s student newspaper, put out an editorial about murders stating that “One needs only to look at the lives of Deah, Yusor and Razan to understand the stupidity, barbarity and destructiveness of the United States’ collective distrust of those who practice Islam.”

Earlier, the editorial said that “Regardless of the reported reasons for this tragedy, we must also recognize that this event has caused so much pain for so many because it represents a horrific actualization of the fears that Muslims live with today.”

So, even though a (violent) disagreement over parking may have been the actual motive of the killer, it still ultimately boils down to … “Islamophobia.”

Elsewhere, the Muslim Student Association at the University of West Virginia held a vigil for the slain students, and noted that the killing “was a hate crime against humanity, not just Muslims.” MSA spokesman Mouhammed Sakkal said “We refuse to believe this (poking [sic] dispute) was the reason,” Sakkal said. “These were brutal, execution-style murders.”

At a University of Missouri vigil for the students, freshman Yasmin Younis stated “For me, this act of terror, which the media so shockingly refuses to label it as, terrifies me. It terrifies me because it makes me feel insecure, unsafe and unwelcomed [sic] in my own community. It makes me question my identity.” Another freshman, Afsah Khan, said she hoped the vigil “brought to light the reality of Islamophobia to students.”

The Massachusetts Daily Collegian reported on the “apparent hate crime” at Chapel Hill and noted that the “tragedy hits the campus hard in the wake of last semester’s race-driven crimes and the protests that followed.”

Abed Ayoub, the legal director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, went as far as to bring up a certain popular film with regards to the killings: “[The North Carolina murders] may not be directly linked to the film, but the overall way that Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiment are moving in this country is portrayed in the words of those who watched American Sniper.”

Lastly, the father of the sisters who were killed wants the feds to get involved — to begin an “hate crime” investigation: “This has hate crime written all over it,” he said.

Ironically, part of the reason the media reaction to these murders may have been … “muted” is due to the assassin’s alleged religious and political affiliations:

A review of the Facebook page of the man charged in these murders, Craig Hicks, shows a consistent theme of anti-religion and progressive causes. Included in his many Facebook “likes” are the Huffington Post, Rachel Maddow, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” Neil deGrasse Tyson, gay marriage groups, and a host of anti-conservative/Tea Party pages.

Wait — you mean … he’s not an anti-government, right-wing Tea Partier extremist who specifically detest Muslims?

Does anyone want to bet that if he was all of the above the media reaction that would have been much more rigorous?

If you’re skeptical, then check out what Shafi Khan, a friend of the murdered students, said on CNN:

“There is [sic] certain sections of the media and political apparatus that are constantly dehumanizing Muslims. I want to take a minute to ask people like Fox News and Bobby Jindal to stop this dehumanization of Muslims. It’s really, really starting to take a toll.”

To wit: Despite there being absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Fox News, (Louisiana Governor) Bobby Jindal, or anyone else on the right had any influence whatsoever on the Chapel Hill killer, they’re still to blame!

If you’re still shaking your head “no way,” go ask ABC’s Brian Ross about his infamous invocation of the Tea Party shortly after the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shootings of 2012.

Or, go ask a member of the Congressional Black Caucus to provide actual proof that Tea Party members shouted racial epithets at them in front of the Capitol during the Obamacare debate in 2010. Andrew Breitbart never had to pay out the $10,000 he offered for evidence that (racial) slurs were hurled at the CBC, despite there being recording devices all over the place, including one used by Jesse Jackson Jr.

And, to coin a cliché, those two example are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

So, liberals and a religious minority are disappointed in the mainstream media? As a certain New York cop once said on Christmas,

Dave Huber is an assistant editor of  The College Fix. (@ColossusRhodey)

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.