A $40M, 10 year campaign designed to promote fear of Islam and Muslims – coordinated by interconnected foundations, think tanks, pundits, and bloggers – has been uncovered by the Center for American Progress (CAP).
The 140-page CAP report, “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” identifies seven foundations that have quietly provided the multi-million dollar funding needed to spearhead the nationwide effort from 2001 to 2009.
The anti-Islam propaganda party includes what the report calls “misinformation experts” who are often tapped by television news networks and right-wing radio talk shows to comment on Islam and the threat it allegedly poses to U.S. national security.
“Together, this core group of deeply intertwined individuals and organizations manufacture and exaggerate threats of ‘creeping Sharia’, Islamic domination of the West, and purported obligatory calls to violence against all non-Muslims by the Quran,” according to the report.
Once these ‘experts’ get their hate speech out there, it gets reverberated in the “Islamophobia echo chamber” consisting of leaders of the Christian Right, Republican politicians, and FOX news.
Judging by recent polls, the Muslim bashing network has proved remarkably successful, according to the report which cited a 2010 Washington Post poll that shows 49 percent of U.S. citizens held an unfavorable view of Islam, up ten percent since 2002.
So what’s the lesson here? Well, for one, it demonstrates how, for a modest sum and with a coordinated effort, one can significantly alter public opinion and media messaging.
More importantly, this report shows us the importance of getting our information from a wide range of sources. If we trust just one source for all our news, we could very easily fall victim to brainwashing.
But, if we take the time to diversify our news gathering – relying on Internet news, foreign sources, and a multitude of ideological perspectives – we will be immunizing ourselves against the power of special interests, ensuring that we have the most accurate to perception of reality.