Many are the reasons why Americans — including most Christians — are utterly ignorant of the plight of Christians under Islam. Yet there is no doubt that the media, where we get our information, is the root source of this ignorance. Whether by distorting, engaging in apologetics for Islam, or simply not reporting on the reality on the ground, the mainstream media has seen to it that Muslim persecution of Christians, arguably the greatest human rights abuse of our time, is little known and even less acted upon.
Michael Kravshik offers a good, recent example of how the media, including those most expected to be objective, habitually, perhaps instinctively, distort and thus minimize the situation. Excerpts from his article, which is well worth a full read, follow:
This most recent example comes courtesy of both Foreign Policy Magazine and the Associated Press, two sources that are expected to uphold objective integrity when reporting on straight facts. Foreign Policy Magazine’s opinion pieces are exceptions to this rule, but this example comes not from an op-ed, but from its “Morning Brief” which is intended to report on facts, not opinion… [O]n March 1, 2013 I was greeted with the following: “Muslim-Chritian fighting has reportedly broken out in a town in Southern Egypt.” [Note: spelling error on the word Christian from original source.]
Following the link to the AP report that this headline was sourced from leads to an article entitled, “Christian-Muslim tension flares in southern Egypt.” The actual facts of the situation are presented quite clearly in the first paragraph:
“Dozens of Muslim residents threw firebombs and rocks at police on Friday as they tried to storm a church in southern Egypt in search of a woman suspected of converting to Christianity, security officials said.” You can find more specifics in the body of the article.
The report refers to the event in a number of ways:
1) “Christian-Muslim tension flares…” (in the title)
2) “Clashes between Copts and Muslims…”
3) “Violence between Egypt’s Christians and Muslims…”
4) “The fighting…”
Tensions, clashes, violence and fighting. By reading the actual details of the event, it is clear that none of these phrases adequately describe what is quite obviously an assault on a besieged Egyptian minority. All of these phrases—especially clashes, and fighting—including the Foreign Policy headline imply the culpability of both parties, which in this case is far from the truth. Regardless of whether the intention to deceive exists, deception has certainly occurred; especially if a reader decided to take Foreign Policy’s brief at its word without looking into the details (something everyone is guilty of from time to time). The phrasing used leaves readers with a thoroughly false perception of the actual events. Whether by intentional deception or just plain old poor reporting, the damage has been done.
Thus the power of subtlety; something not limited to the case of Coptic Christians. Intentional or not in this case, in other cases it certainly has been. Either way, the authors have betrayed the integrity and trust that readers have placed in them. As consumers of information, we must always be cognizant of the power of words like these and the ease with which we can all be fooled by them. We must always do our best to use our common sense, and the sparse details we can get our hands on, to make our own value judgments. Unfortunately, this trend is far too common.