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It's not just Bill Maher: Islamophobia on cable news is out of control

On September 17, 2001, President George W. Bush gave his "Islam is peace" speech from the Islamic Center of Washington DC, tucked into a leafy stretch of embassy row. He urged the country to embrace "fellow Americans" who are Muslim as well as Islam itself "with respect," explaining to a country full of "anger and emotion" that the jihadists who'd struck a few days earlier were insane outliers and not representative of the religion.

Since then, there has been a tension in how Islam is discussed in American media, and especially in its most populist and popular form, television. Americans typically follow Bush's advice, but sometimes they struggle, particularly when violent extremist groups are in the news. In recent weeks, that strain of Islamophobia in the US has risen along with media attention to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), reaching crisis levels —particularly on American TV news.

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