Truly Absurd Salon Headline: 'Fox News’ War on Muslims - Ailes, O'Reilly and Hannity Have Stoked Islamophobia'

September 12th, 2012 5:30 PM

On the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the horrendously liberal website Salon published a piece with the truly absurd headline, "Fox News’ War on Muslims: Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity have stoked Islamophobia -- and encouraged right-wing ignorance."

The contents - excerpted from Nathan Lean's book “The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims” - were stocked with misinformation about America's leading cable news channel:

The Islamophobia industry also goes to great lengths to sell its message to the many cases the very networks that spread their product are themselves participants in the ruse to whip up public fear of is a relationship of mutual benefit, where ideologies and political proclivities converge to advance the same agenda.

Fox News, the American television station that brands itself as “fair and balanced,” is the epitome of this relationship. It has been, for the better part of the last decade, at the heart of the public scare-mongering about Islam, and has become the home for a slew of right-wing activists who regularly inhabit its airwaves to distort the truth to push stereotypes about Muslims.

What was the author's proof? A poll by the left-leaning Brookings Institution.

How convenient.

Lean next gave some examples of Fox's supposed anti-Muslim bias featuring Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Pamela Geller, and Robert Spencer, before citing work done by George Soros's shills at Media Matters and Think Progress.

I bet you knew that was coming.

The author even dug up the incident that got Juan Williams fired by NPR before setting his sights on Fox President Roger Ailes:

On one occasion, as Ailes was sitting in his Fox News office monitoring the activity in the hallways on television monitors he had set up, a dark-skinned man in what appeared to be “Muslim garb” walked by. Ailes freaked and put the entire building on lockdown. “What the hell!” he shouted, apparently convinced that terrorists had finally tracked him down.

“This guy could be bombing me,” he said. It turned out that the man was a janitor. “Roger tore up the whole floor,” one source close to Ailes later recalled. “He has a personal paranoia about people who are Muslim — which is consistent with the ideology of his network.” Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone magazine notes that Ailes is a master propagandist, so tuned in to the demographic makeup of his Fox audiences that he is able to calculate how and where and when to plant a story in the news stream to maximize its impact: The typical viewer of Hannity, to take the most stark example, is a pro-business (86 percent), Christian conservative (78 percent), Tea Party-backer (75 percent) with no college degree (66 percent), who is over age 50 (65 percent), supports the NRA (73 percent), doesn’t back gay rights (78 percent) and thinks government “does too much” (84 percent).

Undisclosed in this piece was that Ailes addressed Dickinson's accusations during an interview with the Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz in June 2011:

Ailes can still get riled by personal criticism, dismissing as “fantasy” and “fiction” a Rolling Stone report that he travels with a large security detail and has blast-resistant office windows. He invited me to throw a rock at the glass—and promised security would arrest me.

Apparently neither Lean nor Salon were concerned about checking the facts in this excerpt.

Reached for comment, a Fox News representative told NewsBusters:

“Had Salon bothered to check out the “facts” it was parroting from Rolling Stone and Media Matters which exists solely to attack FOX News, they would have seen that we already dismissed the 2011 story as fiction and fantasy. Their rip and write approach, especially in regards to stirring up religious hatred is a vivid example of irresponsible, lazy journalism made no less egregious by the fact that it was commissioned on 9/11.”