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Your Opinion: Bias against Muslims

Your Opinion: Bias against Muslims

August 24th, 2011 by Thomas C. Hartman, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

"More than anything, the United States needs effective citizens competent to do their own thinking," taught William Mather Lewis.

ABC News and its spokesperson Anchor Diane Sawyer displayed an apparently demeaning appraisal of her viewers, one such as Lewis speaks about, on the Evening News, Aug. 17. In her report of the commencing of school following the horrendous events in Joplin, anchor Sawyer spoke of the generosity of Americans in rushing to the aid of the victims in that city. And generous they were, to be sure. As chief evidence of this generosity Sawyer cited the hundreds of laptops given each Joplin public school student, obscuring altogether the fact that these were supplied by a gift from the United Arab Emirates of $500,000 and the pledge to match an additional $500,000 from similar donations.

Do she and her producers believe that viewers of the Nightly News await with bated breath their choosing what events of the day to report, including their editing of the facts to fit their own views? Do they suppose that we do not read and listen to other sources?

What led to this curious, disgraceful omission? An oversight? Probably not. Can it be evidence of prejudice against Muslim peoples? Let's hope not.

In the state of Texas where I live part-time, during the last state election, one candidate for governor, Farouk Shami, became the object, not of omitted attributions as was the case with Sawyer, but, rather, of open, prejudicial slurs including some from the media. Said one political blogger, Texas Liberal: "There is printed on his scarf the words "Jerusalem is ours.'" "Palestinian born," the Dallas Morning News called him. But it was the Houston Chronicle which took the cake: " ... he speaks with an accent different from ours."

These must have breathed a sigh of relief when Shami was defeated in the primary elections. And, perhaps regretfully, ceased their vitriol against Muslims, leaving the task to the few die-hards who continue to label, as if it were something to be eschewed, our president as a foreign-born Muslim, continuing an e-mail rumor which began so long ago as 2007.

God help us!