WA.) – America
needs to change the way we respond to tragedy and increase our
dialogue. We have become far too cynical and it has become a
roadblock to any type of progress.
There was a
last week when National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch
commented at the conservative CPAC conference saying, “many in
legacy media love mass shootings”.
was certainly a
provocative statement and understandably offensive to anyone working
in the media industry, from a business perspective there is no
question that media outlets do very well during such times. This is
not the fault of the media alone.
consumers raise their
ratings when our eyes become glued to our screens awaiting every
detail or new development.
NRA is facing backlash after years of intense lobbying to keep the
gun industry as unregulated as possible. The growing national
response is not surprising.
law-abiding gun owners feel they are being unfairly judged for the
actions of a small minority of gun owners. As a Muslim, I can
certainly relate to this sentiment. But at the same time, I can’t
help but shake my head at the hypocrisy.
experience the same treatment pushed by conservative media and
speakers often featured at CPAC. After each act of terrorism
committed by someone who professes to be Muslim there is non-stop
see so-called experts on Islam telling us about the threats that
Islam poses to America, how immigration from Muslim nations should be
banned, the ridiculous conspiracy theory that the Muslim Brotherhood
has infiltrated the highest levels government, or that President
Obama was a closet Muslim.
We see a
rise in hate crimes
and experience ignorant and obnoxious comments in our daily lives. We
are even told that American Muslims need to do more to prevent
extremism—something asked of no other demographic.
we receive comparatively and substantially less media attention for
efforts to combat extremism like the True
the coverage of terrorist attacks perpetrated by so-called Muslims,
on average, sees many times more media attention than attacks
committed by white supremacists or other extremist groups.
of the Daily Wire,
Ben Shapiro, announced that they would no longer publish the names
and photos of perpetrators of mass shootings. It was noted
attention garnered from such attacks can inspire new attacks.
that this would ever be widely practiced, and while there's many
views of Shapiro that I find untenable—on this matter I think
Mr. Shapiro gets it right. We need a media approach that focuses on
the problems themselves without bringing so much attention to the
killers through tabloid style coverage.
unnecessary attention that
fuels the non-stop coverage of unimportant details will continue if
we continue to consume it. As consumers we should reject such tabloid
style journalism. Media is a business and will report on whatever we
Holiness, Mirza Masroor
Ahmad, head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, has stated that
“Publicity is the oxygen sustaining most terrorist or extremist
groups.”." His Holiness adds, “Instead of conflict
and division, we desire for people to live alongside one another in
peace and harmony. We seek to build bridges of love
unite all mankind.”
It is my
hope that in the
future, when law-abiding gun owners see law-abiding Muslims attacked
unfairly and lumped in with terrorists, they will be able to look
back at this with some empathy and choose to engage in dialogue
rather than stereotype innocent Muslims.
likewise the path
to ensuring common sense gun legislation. Far too many Americans, on
all sides, have chosen to limit their sources of news to only those
that report what they agree with. Social media has amplified these
echo chambers creating even more division.
We need to
learn to use our
media in a way to increase dialogue and understanding instead of
blocking out that which we don’t want to hear. We have a
responsibility to demand unbiased truth and dialogue instead of just
hearing what we want to hear. That fairness is the better way to
respond to tragedy, because it better ensures we act with justice and
thus better prevent future tragedies.