Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center doens't like Muslims. It generally writes about them only in the context of attacking them -- i.e., Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib -- and whining about conservatives being (accurately) described as Islamophobic. So when the MRC suddenly wants to talk about Muslims in a nice way, one has to assume bad faith is part of the argument. And that's exactly what we got in a Nov. 4 post by Jason Cohen:
Dr. Oz is a Muslim and would be the first ever Muslim senator if elected. But based on media coverage, there is a good chance you didn't even know about this.
In fact, HuffPost had the nerve to leave him out of their piece titled "American Muslims In The Midterms Aren't Long-Shot Candidates Anymore."
FOX News reported that “A spokesperson for HuffPost declined to comment.”
Mike Cernovich pointed out this lack of coverage in a tweet saying, “If the regime media thought Republicans hated Muslims, they’d be touting that Dr Oz could become the first Muslim Senator in U.S. history. But they are quiet about that. Says it all.”
Glenn Greenwald also noted how groundbreaking this would be:
It seems to show how accepting the right is that they are not making any issue of Oz’s religion whatsoever. And it shows the left is disingenuous in regard to diversity.
Leftists only like diversity when they support the same sentiments.
Cernovich likes to fearmonger about "Muslim rape culture," so maybe he's not the best guy Cohen could be citing to praise Muslims. Also missing from Cohen's post: any questioning of why his fellow right-wingers haven't been celebrating Oz's Muslim faith the way they would if he was an evangelical Christian. Indeed, there was no mention whatsoever of Oz's Muslim faith at the MRC before Cohen's post.
There's also another question missing from Cohen's post: If this achievement is so historic, why wasn't Oz himself touting it? Because he didn't want to. In contrast to Cohen's portrayal, the non-right-wing media has noted Oz's historic status -- and also noted how Oz is downplaying his faith. For example, on Oct. 14 -- three weeks before Cohen's post -- ABC News reported:
Clay Waters served up a similar argument -- tyhis time attacking the New YOrk Times -- in a Nov. 9 post:
Dr. Mehmet Oz rarely talks about his faith on the campaign trail – but, if he wins, the son of Turkish émigrés could make history as the first Muslim elected to serve in the U.S. Senate.
"Pride and honor," Oz, the Pennsylvania GOP nominee, said in an interview last month when asked by ABC News' Linsey Davis what being the first Muslim in the chamber would mean to him.
He is already the first Muslim ever to be nominated by a major party for a Senate seat.
"Sufism is just kind of like, 'I'm spiritual,'" Imam Abdullah Pocius, the leader of a mosque in Philadelphia, explained to ABC News. "It's like when an American says, 'Well I'm not really into organized religion, but I'm spiritual,' you know?"
Pocius, who is not politically affiliated and said he has never voted, said Oz is rarely discussed among Muslims in Pennsylvania that he knows. Oz, too, rarely discusses his Muslim background on the campaign trail unless asked.
Despite his historic nomination, Oz feels distant from the Muslim community in Pennsylvania and is not "visible" in that role, Pocius said: "He definitely does not excite us. He's not even a blip on the radar."
On Sunday, New York Times religion correspondent Liam Stack became the latest Timesreporter to devalue what would have been a historic achievement by a minority group politician, due to the politician in question being a conservative: “Oz Could Be the First Muslim U.S. Senator, but Some Muslim Americans Are Ambivalent.”
In quite the twist, a Times reporter is suspicious of a political figure (Dr. Mehmet Oz, running for the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania as a Republican) for not pushing or emphasizing their religious beliefs. This after years of the paper bashing the supposedly dangerous theocratic tendencies of the Christian Right.
While Waters did include article excerpts pointing out that Oz has downplayed his Sufi Islam faith and refused to take part in events at mosques that would emphasize it, he went on to play whataboutism anyway:
Even after Oz lost the eleciton, the MRC tried to push this narrative. In a Nov. 12 post, Alex Christy attacked history professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat for noting that Republicans care mostly about helping white Christian men. Rather than offering a coherent argument, Christy chose instead to make personal attacks on Ben-Ghiat, sneering that she proves that "PhDs are too easy to obtain nowadays" (not that Christy would know, since all he has is a poli-sci degree). He went on to huff:
Stack used Oz’s lack of firebrand religiosity to fault the Republican Party en masse and Trump especially, while blatantly fawning over a controversial Muslim Democratic figure.
Ellison, now Attorney General of Minnesota, weathered sexual harassment controversies and accusations of links to the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Lewis Farrakhan, which Stack conveniently failed to mention.
It's telling that Ben-Ghiat is just a hack with a fancy degree when she cites someone who was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, but that she and the rest of the media couldn’t be bothered to tout the potential Dr. Mehmet Oz had to be the first Muslim senator or, speaking of Georgia, their attacks on Herschel Walker.
Christy didn't mention that his own employer had suppressed the fact of Oz's faith until just a week before.
It appears right-wingers like Cohen, Waters and Christy care only about diversity when they can use it as a cudgel against liberals to push a political narrative.