CNN Partially Rehashes Biased Six-Month-Old 'Islamophobia' Report

March 10th, 2011 7:15 PM

CNN's Deborah Feyerick performed a cut-and-paste job on Thursday's Newsroom by partially re-running a biased report from September 2010 on the apparent rise of "Islamophobia" in the United States. Just as before, all but one of Feyerick's sound bites during her report came from those who were worried about the supposed "intensifying hostility and rise in hate speech" against Muslims.

Anchor Suzanne Malveaux introduced the correspondent's report, which ran 40 minutes into the 12 pm Eastern hour, by putting it in the context of Rep. Peter King's hearings into the radicalization of American Muslims: "King says his radicalization of Islam hearing is going to help protect America from a terrorist attack. Well, critics, they call it a witch hunt. One of the concerns is that it is going to cause more Americans to fear and hate Muslims. Our Deborah Feyerick reports Islamophobia is on the rise." A chyron echoed Malveaux's last sentence: "Islamophobia on the Rise."

The CNN correspondent's new introduction to her report highlighted footage from a protest in New York City against Rep. King's hearings as she stated that "many American Muslims feel they are once again in the position of having to defend their faith....In just the past year, the Islamic center and mosque to be built near Ground Zero drew fierce opposition, along with a dozen attacks on mosques across the country."

Feyerick then inserted what originally ran during a September 2, 2010 report on American Morning: a series of sound bites from individuals who allege a growing and threatening "Islamophobia," and who also accuse conservatives of persecuting Muslims and using the religion as a "wedge issue":

Deborah Feyerick, CNN Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgJOHN ESPOSITIO: It's open season on hate towards Muslims and Islam.

FEYERICK (on-camera): Why now? Especially since the majority of Americans have resisted the urge to scapegoat Muslims in the years since 9/11, despite negative images in the movies and on the news.

FEYERICK (voice-over): John Esposito is a religion and Islamic professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

ESPOSITIO: People feel under siege. They feel threatened by the economy, by terrorism, etc. The risk is that Islamophobia will become the kind of new form of discrimination, you know, like anti-Semitism, like racism towards blacks.

FEYERICK: Conservatively, figures show an estimated 5 million Muslims in America, and intensifying hostility and rise in hate speech is alarming to many, like these clerics who we met at a recent Islamic summit in Houston.

YASIR QADHI: You would never hear any mainstream commentator say, do you think another Christian sect could open up a mosque? Do you think Jews should be allowed to their open synagogues anywhere they want? But we have mainstream news presenters just asking the question bluntly, do you think Muslims should open- should be allowed to open mosques anywhere they want?

WISAM SHARIEFF: What changed the game? Nineteen people changed the game? How did that happen? Because we've been your doctor, we've been your X-ray tech, we've been your accountant. We've been serving you slushies for a long time. (laughs) So, what tipped the scales?

FEYERICK: Wisam Sharieff, Yasir Qadhi and other prominent American clerics say American Muslims are under siege, both by Islamic extremists and some U.S. conservatives.

QADHI: You have radical clerics, right, preaching from abroad, saying you cannot be an American and a Muslim at the same time. Well, low and behold, on the far right, you have quite a number of famous, prominent Islamophobes who are saying the exact same message.

FEYERICK: The Ground Zero mosque, as some call it, has whipped up national debate, fueled in part by misinformation and fear-mongering. Yet, anti-Muslim feelings have been simmering. Since last year, this YouTube video was viewed more than 12 million times.

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER (from video): The world is changing. It's time to wake up.

FEYERICK: Islam has become a political wedge issue, with politicians like Newt Gingrich comparing Muslims to Nazis.
NEWT GINGRICH: You know, Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington. There's no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center.

CNN did something similar on March 3 when they re-aired an October 21, 2009 report about the Fairness Doctrine, but anchor Carol Costello at least gave an indication that the segment was over a year old. A graphic also flashed on screen that gave the original airdate. But with Feyerick's report, this didn't happen.

This is just the latest example of the network revisiting its charge from the summer of 2010 that "Islamophobia" is now "mainstream in America. On February 28, Don Lemon helped promote a new film which the director hopes will "clear up some of this ignorance" about Muslims and their religion. On March 5, Dan Gilgoff hyped the Muslim community's concerns about Rep. King's hearings on

— Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.