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Fox News continues to provide platform for anti-Muslim bigotry: ‘The enemy is Islamic’

Imagine 2050 Staff • Sep 28, 2014

“Profile. Profile. Profile.”

That was Fox News’ Eric Bolling’s latest solution to stop terrorism in the United States. According to the Fox News host, the only way to “find terrorists among us” is to profile all American Muslims.

“Aren’t all Muslims suspect? Don’t we look at all of them with suspicion?” Jonathan Hoenig asked.

So went the Sept. 20 episode of Bolling’s show Cashin’ In. During the show, Bolling’s four additional guests were all in agreement that was the only way to stop the violent extremists with the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from operating in the United States was to profile all Muslims. It should be noted that the rise of ISIS during the summer has been accompanied an uptick in Islamophobic rhetoric. And as always, Fox News has played its usual role to foment anti-Muslim prejudice.

A screen shot of Eric Bolling’s Sept. 20 episode of “Cashin’ In” on Fox News.

“It just makes common sense,” said Wayne Rogers, the former M*A*S*H star who has no expertise in counter-terrorism, in response to Bolling. “There’s no other way. You’ve got to do it. It’s stupid not to.”

And it only went downhill from there.

When Fox contributor Michelle Field later tried to suggest that not all Muslims have ties to terrorism, but rather only those with an “extreme point-of-view,” co-panelist Jonathan Hoenig countered, “Aren’t all Muslims suspect? Don’t we look at all of them with suspicion?”

Hoenig even went as far to state matter-of-factly, “We should have been profiling on September 12, 2001.” His reasoning to justify such a practice? “The last war this country won, we put Japanese-Americans in internment camps, we dropped nuclear bombs on residential city centers.”

Thus, he claims, “profiling would be at least a good start”:

“It’s not on skin color, however, it’s on ideology: Muslim, Islamists, jihadist. That’s a good start but it’s only a start. We need to stop giving Qurans to Gitmo prisoners, we need to stop having Ramadan and Iftar celebrations in the White House. We need to stop saying the enemy is not Islamic. They are.”

However, calling for unconstitutional profiling and mass surveillance of Muslims is rhetoric all-too-familiar within the organized Islamophobia movement. In fact, messaging and talking points from the individuals and groups that comprise this movement continue to appear in Fox News programs. In addition, Fox News continues to provide those leaders a platform in mainstream media by featuring them as experts on terrorism and national security.

Take the Sep. 4 episode of Fox’s Justice with Judge Jeanine, hosted by former district attorney Jeanine Pirro. Pirro, who keeps close ties to anti-Muslim activists, invited Steve Emerson onto her program. Emerson heads the Investigative Project on Terrorism, an organization that provides research chalked full of anti-Muslim bias to public and government officials.

During the show, Emerson lamented that President Obama’s Department of Justice has allegedly forbid the FBI from using religion to identify potential terrorists.

He told Pirro the DOJ has “put out guidelines that restricted the FBI and other law enforcement agencies from using religious factors in identifying threats, national security threats to the United States in the homeland.”

Emerson, however, is quick to indict religion (read: Islam) as being the root cause for all terrorism. Following the horrific 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing, Emerson claimed the bombing “was done with the intent to inflict as many casualties as possible,” which he claimed was a “Middle Eastern trait.”

Unfortunately in times of uncertainty, mass paranoia and prejudice often take root. However, Fox News’ strategy of  distorting any fears of terrorism in order to erode the civil rights of others is both reckless and unacceptable. And above all else, the network should not be used as a megaphone for policies espoused by those involved in organized bigotry.

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