Thursday, March 09, 2006


News Flash: Islam's US popularity is not on an upswing

The Post reports some bad poll numbers if you’re a Muslim – “The poll found that nearly half of Americans -- 46 percent -- have a negative view of Islam,…” Negative Perception Of Islam Increasing. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily make George Bush look bad so they throw this little tidbit in:

“The survey comes at a time of increasing tension; the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq show little sign of ending, and members of Congress are seeking to block the Bush administration's attempt to hire an Arab company to manage operations at six of the nation's ports.”

Wow – one sentence, crammed with information….and it’s all wrong!

First off, I’m not surprised the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are showing little signs of ending – that’s probably because they’ve ALREADY ended…a few years ago. Remember? Taliban – gone! (to Yale, among other places) Saddam – gone! (now on trial) There’ve been elections; we’re helping the new governments set up….any of this ringing a bell?

And did the Post really report on “the Bush administration's attempt to hire an Arab company to manage operations at six of the nation's ports.”? Attempt to hire??? When did the executive office become an HR office for US ports? People who read this article for content can only be considered stupider for the effort if they now believe this is what the port deal is all about.

This ongoing misrepresentation of the transaction is a large part of why it is so unpopular. There are legitimate reasons to be concerned about this pending transaction but the purported sale of the ports or an attempted administration hiring of an Arab-based company are not among them.

For the record, a company out of the UAE is trying to BUY a BRITISH company that ALREADY manages operations at certain TERMINALS, located at certain (and more than 6) US ports.

The Post spared no expense though in getting us this story, digging deep to get to all kinds of experts:

“Conservative and liberal experts said Americans' attitudes about Islam are fueled in part by political statements and media reports that focus almost solely on the actions of Muslim extremists.”

Get that – conservative AND liberal experts…so, you know, it’s like a bi-partisan conclusion.

But just when you think the journalism here couldn’t get any more shallow, the Post rolls out Juan Cole:

“Juan Cole, a professor of modern Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan, agreed, saying Americans "have been given the message to respond this way by the American political elite, mass media and by select special interests.

"Cole said he was shocked when a radio talk show host asked him if Islamic extremists would set off a nuclear bomb in the United States in the next six months. "It was ridiculous. I think anti-Arab racism and profiling has become respectable," he said.”

He was shocked? Why? Is it the timeline of 6 months that he considers racist or is it the presumption that they’ll do it at all? Didn’t bin Laden just threaten us again this past January? U.S. rejects bin Laden's tape's "truce offer". Can Professor Cole point to anything coming out those factions that would indicate that they don’t have our ultimate destruction as their goal?

Obviously I’m no fan of Professor Cole but here’s some links – you decide if this is a man worthy of professional respect:

Informed Comment (this is Juan Cole’s own blog)
TNR: JUAN COLE'S BAD BLOG. (The New Republic)
"It's called courage": Murdoc Online (follows up on a Juan Cole reaction to the murder of Steve Vincent, a journalist covering the situation in Iraq)

I found a link to the Karsh article that doesn't require subscription.
Whoops here's the link:
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