CAIR-Chicago Monitors local media with the purpose of reinforcing positive and accurate coverage of Muslims and Islam, and challenging simplistic, demonizing, or biased reports.
A team of coordinators, and volunteer activists working under our director of communications are assigned to different venues so that all are accounted for. The following are the Chicagoland media venues we currently observe:
Help fight Media disinformation and bias against Islam and Muslims. Please report any such cases using the form below.
* Reported by Bill Dedman and Stephen K. Doig for John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (May 2004)
Click on this button to visit the section that will host our responses to select biased pieces.
It's a well known fact, that bad news sells. This is especially true when it comes to coverage of Islam and Muslims in our media. One would be hard pressed to read about Muslims in a major newspaper without words like "terrorism", "violence", or "bombing" popping up all over the place.
Why are Islam and Muslims only represented through their problem areas? Are these activities even representative of most Muslims as one would presume if left dependant on the Media in forming an impression of Islam and Muslims? Well, the obvious answer is no. Most Muslims have nothing to do with terrorism; in America, out of 8 million American Muslims, fewer than 20 were ever indicted as terrorists.
Yet the fact remains, most Americans depend on the media as the sole source of information on Islam and Muslims, and most media outlets only ever cover Muslims and Islam except relative to terrorism and warfare. This disparity between representation and reality must be remedied. Let's start with Chicago!
- Ahmed Rehab
- Director of Communications
The most important thing to keep in mind at the onset is that the media is not your enemy, and you are not theirs.
Things are not perfect because that is the default situation. Making things better; therefore, requires going the extra mile.
You are a friend of the media as your goal is to assist them in reaching a higher level of professionalism, accuracy, and integrity in their coverage of Islam and Muslims.
Success benefits not only Muslims, but the media venues and all their audiences as well. Even when chastizing or rebuking outrageous reporting, you are acting in comradry, since your criticism is constructive and meant to educate and improve. Here are some tips to keep in mind when
communicating with the media:
Be firm yet polite. Avoid anger and refrain from profanity.
Be clear, specific, and concise.
Use lucid English, and spell check your written correspondence.
Don't indulge in conspiracy theories and general accusations.
Make an effort to convince; use logic, objective analysis, and meaningful analogies.
Fortify your argument with material support: quotes, stats, surveys, citations.
Offer distinct ideas in separate bullet points.
Request a specific remedy, don't leave things hanging. You may ask that an apology be issued, a statement be recanted, or an opposing view be represented equally.
CC CAIR-Chicago's Director of Communications in all your correspondence: communications @cairchicago.org
When writing to reporters, columnists, cartoonists, commentators, etc, make sure to CC their superiors be they editors, producers, or executives.
If it is a serious issue, CC the sponsors and advertisers as well.
Always keep a copy of your communique.
Supply your name, address, profession, daytime phone number, and email.
Keep a record of any responses you may receive.
CAIR-Chicago's Media Response System is fueled by the dedication of volunteer members of the community like yourself who feel
ownership of the problem and wish to contribute towards a solution.
Our talented volunteers are organized into teams, with each team monitoring a specific media outlet or specific sector within an outlet. See Monitored outlets to the left.
Problematic coverage is flagged and descriptive brief reports are sent alerting our media coordinators via the emails to the left or via the form also to the left.
Our coordinators work under our director of communications to create file logs, bubble up requests for responses to our team of writers, or send out action alerts to our mailing list.
Serious violations of professionalism and fair coverage may merit press releases, press conferences, or more conspicuous campaigns.
Ratings of different local media venues in regards to their fair reporting on Islam and Muslims.
Profiles and analysis of anti-Muslim Bigots in the media (local & national).
Facts, Stats, and Reports related to coverage of Muslims in the media.