A U.S.-based Muslim advocacy organization is criticizing the New York Post for displaying the phrase “Muslim Killers” on its cover after the release of the identities of the alleged shooters who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California.
On December 2, two people opened fire at a holiday party in the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, killing 14 and wounding 21 more. After they left the scene, the suspects were confronted by police and killed in a gun battle. After the names of the suspects were released late that night, the New York Post changed the headline of its front page from “Murder Mission” to “Muslim Killers.” As Matt Ford of The Atlantic explained:
-- Bahman Kalbasi (@BahmanKalbasi) December 3, 2015
The front page on the left is from the subscriber edition, which prints late at night so it can be mailed out in the early morning. The front page on the right is from the newsstand edition, which prints later and is also used online. Police confirmed the names of the two suspects, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, at a press conference late last night; the Post's editors rewrote the headline accordingly for the later edition.
Ford went on to describe the cover as indicative of “uniquely paranoid bigotry” toward Muslims that could “have dire consequences for American Muslims.” Vox.com's Jennifer Williams similarly wrote of the cover, “The only reason to highlight the religion of the attackers at this point is to link Islam to murder, which spreads fear and hatred of Muslims -- in other words, Islamophobia.”
In a statement accompanying a petition, the grassroots Muslim group MPower Change wrote that the cover is indicative of “inflammatory, irresponsible and inciting media reporting that fuels an environment of hate and violence against innocent people” and that the Post and other outlets must “report based on facts”:
The New York Post has labeled the San Bernardino shooters “Muslim Killers” in their web version, without any information on motive. What did they call the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooter or Charleston Shooter or Aurora Movie Theater shooter?
It is this type of inflammatory, irresponsible and inciting media reporting that fuels an environment of hate and violence against innocent people.
We are not surprised--the NY Post is, after all, a part of the same family of companies as the right-wing infotainment channel Fox TV--but we are tired of being victimized.
We say enough is enough. The Post, and all media outlets, have to report based on facts and act more responsibly--and we have to hold them accountable.