When the FBI recently announced a sharp spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2015, several news organizations reported the increase as either indirectly or directly a result of President-elect Donald Trump’s candidacy.
The FBI report revealed, among other things, that Muslims experienced a 67 percent increase in hate crimes against their community. In a review of five random articles from major media organizations, The Daily Caller News Foundation found that in a total of 3,427 words, the organizations dedicated a mere 167 to discussing acts of terrorism.
Despite the FBI saying explicitly that these spikes often come in the wake of terrorist attacks, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Washington Post, and the Associated Press dedicated 1,450 words — almost half their reportage — to critiquing Trump’s candidacy. It should be noted that while Trump announced his candidacy in June, the most critiqued element of his campaign with regard to Muslims, the travel ban, did not occur until December.
Meanwhile, 2015 was a historic year for Islamic terror. It kicked off with the slaughtering of a dozen cartoonists and ended with the harrowing scenes in Paris. The FBI, for its part, noted that the hate crime levels mimicked the time following 9/11, a not-so-subtle hat tip to the role terrorist attacks play in hate crime statistics.
Added together, the five articles devoted a total of 1,450 words to Trump, his rhetoric and his campaign, while only using 164 words to talk about the San Bernardino and Paris terrorist attacks. In all five articles, there was no mention of the attack on the offices of Cherlie Hebdo, which occurred just weeks into the year and resulted in the murder of a dozen staffers.
In one 747 word article, HuffPo dedicated 247 words to Trump and his rhetoric, with only 33 words touching on terrorism. A 602 word article from The Guardian used 253 to talk about Trump, his rhetoric and his presidential campaign. The same article only used 65 words to discuss terrorist attacks.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press featured an 852 word article on the surge in hate crimes against Muslims. Their article devoted 397 words to Trump and his rhetoric, while only using 10 words to talk about terrorist attacks. One 521 word Washington Post article neglected to mention terrorist attacks at all; the article used 219 words to talk about Trump and the effect his rhetoric might have had on hate crimes.
A different Washington Post article on the hate crimes against Muslims used 334 words to discuss Trump and his rhetoric, while only using 56 words to talk about 2015’s terrorists attacks.
Still, despite 2015’s tidal wave of bad headlines about terrorist attacks, rapes, and violence stemming from the Muslim community, folks like Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, seem intent on telling the media exactly what they want to hear.
“I don’t have the slightest doubt that Trump’s campaign rhetoric has played a big part,” Potok told The New York Times.
The Nov. 18 Times article on the FBI’s findings also omitted mention of the 12 dead Charlie Hebdo staffers.
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