“Muslims killed us on 9-11.” -Bill O’Reilly on The View.
Sure, Bill’s is a factual statement. The 9-11 terrorists killed in the name of Islam. But we have to look deeper into the intentions of the statement. Do we say that a CHRISTIAN bound, tortured, and killed people (Dennis Radar)? Or that a Catholic killed boys and buried them under his house (John Wayne Gacy)? Not really. We usually only mention the fact of a serial killer’s religion to invoke shock or to show how a religion has been perverted. A church-going man was a serial killer?! That’s so crazy! We don’t prevent people from building churches because Jeffrey Dahmer grew up in a fundamentalist Christian household. And we certainly don’t imply that all Christians like to eat people’s brains (jury’s still out).
But once we replace “Muslim extremists” with just plain “Muslims,” we lump a large group of people into a small group of easily hated people. As this subtle, but powerful, substituted term is repeated, the large group is soon hated by transference (tell a big lie enough times, and it becomes the “truth”). So, it’s simply irresponsible for people in the media to use their influence to employ this tactic. That’s why Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg got so angry at Bill O’Reilly on The View… because he knows exactly what he’s doing: playing into the fear, racism, and hatred of his viewers. Hey, man, gotta get those ratings. What, you think people can make the differentiation between extremists and your average Muslim? Talk to the people who still believe that Sadaam Hussein had something to do with 9-11. There are people believe most of what they hear, especially if it comes from Fox News.