Since Trump announced his “Muslim ban” on Friday (27th January 2017) the media has been in a state of outrage, shock and fury — a response worthy of such a nasty, regressive and xenophobic policy.
Yet, in 2016 Former President Barack Obama signed into law bills preventing people from traveling to the US from Muslim countries, and the media barely paid any attention.
The bill that Obama signed in 2016 was nowhere near as drastic as Trump’s Muslim ban, however, it did lay the framework for Trump to enact his ban. The situation highlights the ways in which the media hypocritically challenges one form of discrimination, whilst allowing others to go all but unchallenged and ignored, depending on who is doing the discriminating, depending on who is in power, and more importantly which interests support that power.
President Trump recently announced a raft of measures to halt refugees into America.
The policies have been labeled by the media as a ban on Muslims — this simply isn’t an accurate description.
While it is clear that some Muslim countries are being targeted by Trump, a lot of Muslim countries are not at the same time, such as Saudi Arabia. The reason given by the Trump administration is that people from the now banned countries may have terrorist links, and thus could be a security threat.
But if Trump’s primary aim was to stop terrorists, especially Islamic terrorists then countries like Saudi Arabia would’ve been top of the list: 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudi nationals and were able to easily obtain US passports because of the uncomfortably close relationship between the two countries. In fact, none of these countries have produced terrorists that have attacked America.
Secret Internal US government documents show the extent to which high-level officials in the Saudi Government were likely to have been involved in the 9-11 attacks. The US government fought for many years against the families of 9-11 victims to keep these documents a secret, eventually, after a lengthy battle, they released them.
Trump’s Muslim ban doesn’t even begin to address this fundamental logical flaw so we can say that this has nothing to do with stopping Islamic terror. Trump is neither banning all Muslims nor stopping terrorists from entering the US.
What Trump is really doing though is banning predominantly Muslim refugees fleeing from western created wars, and in the process, he is potentially breaking the US’s commitment made to the UN during the Geneva conventions. This is not surprising as during the general election he referred to them as “the problem”.
While the mainstream media’s response to Trump’s Muslim ban has been somewhat correct (they are right to oppose, and attack it obviously) they are conveniently leaving out some key elements. Obama very much helped to lay the foundations for Trump’s Muslim ban, and he did this long before Trump was elected.
It has been widely reported that Trump is putting a suspension on anybody traveling on a visa from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen — Muslim majority countries.
This, however, is related to legislation called the Visa Waiver Program and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 — on the advice of the Department of Homeland Security these seven countries were targeted as countries of concern. Both of these acts were signed into law by Obama in 2016.
The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of 38 participating countries to travel to the U.S., Europe, Japan, and South Korea without a visa for stays of 90 days or less, but the act excludes dual nationals from the seven countries or anybody who has travelled to those countries in the past five years from visa-free travel to the US. The exceptions to this are people who have worked in the military and on official government business.
These acts were introduced and pushed by the right-wing Republicans — however, it was also supported by Democrats. Since the inception of this act human rights groups have unsuccessfully placed pressure on Obama to use executive action on the ban.
This was largely ignored by the media at the time, and there has been little if any mention of Obama’s involvement in this aspect on the Muslim ban. The bill was condemned by The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) in 2015:
They have also failed to mention that Obama’s administration is responsible for dropping thousands of bombs on these Muslim countries. Obama is the only president in history to have kept the US at war for his entirety of his two terms in office.
The US is currently involved in military intervention in all of 6 out of the 7 countries. The war in Iraq continues (supported by the UK) as does US intervention in Syria (where they are supporting Islamic terrorists). Obama increased the amount of US troops in Sudan, has conducted airstrikes in Libya, and his drones have been assassinating people in Yemen, and Somalia — many of these people are innocent victims and include children playing football, and funeral mourners.
Rather than making the world a safer place these actions create more terrorism as has long been understood by the US government.
This illustrates the hypocrisy of US foreign policy: we are free to invade your country, and assinate you without any form of due process, but don’t even think about coming to ours.
It also illustrates the hypocrisy behind the mainstream media: they are happy to (correctly) decry Trump’s Muslim Ban — but barely even bother to mention Obama’s role in this.
If the mainstream media was primarily concerned (as we should all be) with the obviously disgusting banning of refugees and immigrants based on nationality, race, and religion then they would also have applied the same kinds of scrutiny and coverage to Obama as they are to Trump.
This perfectly demonstrates the media bias that has lead to Trump’s victory, and may well propel his popularity in the future. By not challenging Obama’s policies and decisions correctly and applying the same kinds of standards of judgment to him as they are to Trump they are giving Trump ammunition to make the claim that the media is against him. Unfortunately, this claim does have some justification, and so, therefore, further validates Trump in the eyes of those that hold the belief that he, and his cabinet of fellow bigoted, lowlife lunatics — Steve Bannon, General “Mad Dog” Mattis, Rex Tillerson and Co, are the only ones who can actually be trusted.
Clearly, Trump’s Muslim ban is far more severe than Obama’s, but we must remember that ultimately this is a ban on Muslim refugees fleeing from the horror created by US, and western forces and that Obama also did a lot to contribute to this destruction and horror.
By failing to make the correct distinctions, and fully explain the situation they are essentially acting as an efficient mouthpiece for Trump, and Islamic terrorists.
By reporting on these policies as if America is at war with the entire Muslim world they are playing directly into the hands of the Islamic terrorists who want the entire Muslim world to be at war with the west — as this helps them to justify and promote their terrorist goals — the results of whIch we are beginning to see.
This will have a knock-on consequence as both sides continue to escalate and attack each other. Sunday’s terrorist attacks on a Mosque in Canada in which 6 people were killed are an example of this. They will, no doubt sadly not be the last attacks of this kind.
Unless the media can grow-up and start to report the full story — holding all sides of power to account equally and fairly then this situation can only continue to decline.
It is easy to remember Obama as a liberal hero, especially as we enter the deranged world of Trump, but we shouldn’t. Trump is clearly far worse — no doubt about it — but the media is only choosing fragments of the story that fit their narrative, and as long as they do it seems likely that we will only have more terror, bigotry, and discrimination in the world.
Muslims are under attack by Trump — that is clear — what isn’t made clear though is the fact that they have been under attack for a long time by the US. Trump has now taken this to a new extreme, and as he does not have the usual centers of corporate power and money behind him, as he exposes the horrors of the West, and doesn’t even bother to dress them in an air of respectability he now faces the kind of media backlash that is deserving of this action. But we could not have reached this point without the compliance of the media in largely covering up the anti-Mulsim framework laid by Obama — something which is left out of the mainstream coverage.
And now that Trump is at the helm of America, we are going to see how the standards set by previous US Presidents are handled by a man who is openly wild, power hungry, unpredictable, spiteful and psychopathic.
This post was published on 1st February 2017, and updated on 2nd February 2017 to include further information on The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act (“VWP Act”).