Far be for me to defend Donald Trump — he has millions of knuckleheaded gullibles doing that — but how about some accuracy in what has become accepted journalese by the media’s reporting his “Muslim ban.” A quick search for “Muslim ban” in the New York Times got 171 hits, and The Boston Globe 169. The first of the listed Times’s headlines was for an op-ed: “How Trump is Stealthily Carrying Out His Muslim Ban.” But what got me finally going on this was a headline in one of my most informative publications, the Sept. 2017 issue of “Church and State”, the monthly of Americans United For Separation of Church and State. The headline: “Battling the Ban — The Legal Fight Over President Trump’s Muslim Ban Heads to the Supreme Court.” The story discusses the court’s review of “two cases involving Trump’s executive order that bans travelers from six Muslim-majority countries.”
And there’s the rub: “six Muslim-majority countries.” This headline and the text in the story — like those in most media on the subject — fail to point out that there are 50 Muslim majority countries in the world, but Trump’s ban covers only six: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. What about the other 44 Muslim-majority countries? One would think this is a highly important fact, especially because most of the terrorists in the USA and Western Europe have been from Muslim-majority countries not on the ban: Morocco, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.
OK, you can argue that there are new restrictions on travel to the United States for refugees and others from Muslim-majority countries and other countries. Most stories, however, never clarify if the restrictions apply to refugees seeking permanent residence, people coming to visit relatives, people seeking permanent residency based on family connections to Americans, or tourists. But is all this a sweeping “Muslim ban”? Sure, he promised that in his election campaign, but we know what his promises mean.
File under: Stories that add to the confusion.
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