The Origins of Fox’s Favorite Muslim No-Go-Zone Myth – The Atlantic

Good take down of the ‘no-go-zone’ myth, with the following conclusion (and for those who know French, this parody on Le Petit Journal is both amusing and effective):

Meanwhile, the meme can be seen extending to the United States. Truth Uncensored reports, incorrectly, that there are no-go zones stateside, including in places like Dearborn, Michigan, a Detroit suburb with a large Muslim population. Conservative Tribune even posts a map that allegedly shows no-go zones controlled by Islamists across the United States. I can’t tell where the map originally came from, but it cites data from Steven Emerson, the Fox expert who apologized for his no-go-zone comments. And the map is posted elsewhere on the Internet, labeled as everything from a map of terrorist camps (apparently al-Qaeda is big in Boca Raton—alert your grandparents!) to areas with concentrated Muslim populations.

Erroneous beliefs such as these concentrate along partisan axes, and once an idea has taken seed it’s difficult to root out.

Bottom line: You don’t need to worry about Muslim no-go zones if you live in the United States. And if you’re planning a tourist expedition to Europe, it’s a good idea to avoid high-crime areas, regardless of their demographics. But why, if there’s no evidence for no-go zones and some of the highest-profile propagators of the idea have repudiated it, do such myths survive and thrive?

It probably has a lot to do with the conservative media ecosystem. Erroneous beliefs such as these tend to concentrate along people’s partisan or ideological axes. (The same is true of liberal media, though not in this particular case.) And once an idea has taken seed, it’s extremely difficult to root out. As political scientists Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler have shown, corrections can actually backfire, increasing holders’ faith in their incorrect beliefs.

Unfortunately, even reporting on these misconceptions can worsen the problem, so I am part of the problem. But it seems important to note that Jindal is plainly wrong. These sorts of distortions and exaggerations don’t help to fight the very real threat of Islamist terror. They don’t serve the cause of creating an informed, reasoned democratic society. And they don’t help the political prospects of guys like Jindal, who has previously demanded that his GOP stop being “the stupid party.” Maybe this meme is the real no-go zone.

The Origins of Fox’s Favorite Muslim No-Go-Zone Myth – The Atlantic.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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