Media Correct in Not Stereotyping

Response to Chicago Sun-Times’ “Media utters nonsense, won’t call enemy out”

In his column “Media utters nonsense, won’t call enemy out,” Mark Steyn criticizes the media because it did not specify the enemy during the recent fighting in Russia. He claims that the media considers Islamic militants as “the enemy whose name its best never to utter” and thus would rather just label them as “insurgents” or “rebel forces” (Oct. 16).

The one correct thing the media did in covering this issue is the one thing Steyn complains about. By not automatically labeling the fighting as a battle between Islamic militants and the rest of the world, the media was responsible enough to not fall into stereotyping that it must avoid. Just because these insurgents happen to be Muslim, does not mean they share the goals of groups such as Al-Qaeda.

What Steyn should have been angered about is the lack of context these stories displayed. No story he mentioned talked about the reasons people were rebelling against the government, what they were demanding or what their lives have been like under intense pressure from the Russian army.

The media has a responsibility to its readers and to people whose voice is seldom heard. So the media should have realized that its readers require in depth information about issues they are unfamiliar with. And it should have realized that it is the “insurgents” and “rebel forces” that have more right to have their stories shared in the media than governments who have the money and power to launch their own propaganda.