CNN Bemoans Americans' Hostility to Islam, Obama Needs to 'Educate'

April 2009 CNN Poll Graphic | NewsBusters.orgCNN latched onto two separate poll results on Monday that indicated that about half of Americans view the Islamic world negatively or don’t trust Muslim allies as much as other allies, and indicated that President Obama and others in authority need to be “educators” for the public about Islam. The network brought up the polls’ results on seven different occasions during their programming that day.

During the 8 am Eastern hour of American Morning, chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour first brought up a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll which found that 55 percent of Americans “concede that they lack a good basic understanding of Islam” and that 48 percent “hold an unfavorable opinion of Islam.” After she read these results, substitute anchor Carol Costello responded, “I think the difference is that many Americans see Islam as an ideology instead of a religion, and maybe, President Obama has to kind of -- kind of put a definition on it from the American standpoint in Turkey.”

Later, near the end of the noon hour of the Newsroom program, Amanpour appeared again, this time with anchor Tony Harris. He asked the correspondent to “talk us through some recent polling in The Washington Post that suggests that the president is going to have to play the role of educator-in-chief when it comes to explaining Islam to many in America, even as he works for better relations with the Islamic world.” Amanpour first answered that President Obama was “trying to smooth...over and correct” the “terrible rupture” between the U.S. and the Islamic world over the past eight years.

Tony Harris, CNN Anchor; & Christiane Amanpour, CNN Chief International Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgAfter repeating the two poll results she read on the earlier program, she continued: “So there is an enormous amount of work to be done, and I don’t think actually it’s just the president. I think it’s really schools, it’s media, it’s the whole sort of public sphere of public debate. And to that end, we here at CNN have a two-hour documentary coming up. My next documentary is, in fact, on the next generation of Muslim youth.”

It should be noted that the last time that Amanpour had a multi-hour documentary on religion, she sympathized with Muslim “fundamentalists” in the U.S., while comparing Christian conservatives to the Taliban.

Over four hours later, at the bottom half of 5 pm Eastern hour of The Situation Room, senior political correspondent Candy Crowley introduced some of CNN’s own poll results on a related question, which asked “Americans if they think the U.S. should trust Muslim allies as much as other allies. The country’s split -- 51 percent said yes, 48 percent said no.” Anchor Wolf Blitzer would go on to ask The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes about this result an hour later during a panel discussion.

During a segment on the No Bias, No Bull program nearly two hours later, anchor Roland Martin condescendingly asked the Reverend Al Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Seminary, about this specific poll number: “Al, this poll is pretty interesting -- 48 percent of the people not trusting our Muslim allies. Is this because we’re, frankly, fighting two wars in Muslim countries, or is it a matter of, frankly, Americans having no clue about Muslims and then just operating off of ignorance and their own views, and not facts?”

Anchor Anderson Cooper would bring up CNN’s poll number one more time. Twenty-five minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour of his Anderson Cooper 360 program, he asked senior political analyst David Gergen for his take on it. Gergen sort of brushed it aside as the latest scare: “Well, we’ve heard so much anti-Muslim talk for so long since 9/11, it’s not -- that's not unnatural. You know, polls in the past showed a lot of anti-China sentiment. There was a time when there was a huge amount of anti-Soviet sentiment in this country. It -- I think, actually, the Muslim world is doing better than I would have expected in that -- in that poll.”
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center