'Where's the beef!?' in TV station's report on Oklahoma petition asking Muslims to 'go home'

"It certainly is a big bun."

"It's a very big bun."

"A big, fluffy bun."

"It's a very big, fluffy bun."

Readers of a certain age will remember the old Wendy's commercial in which two gray-haired ladies admire the size of a hamburger bun, while a third woman asks the obvious question about the tiny patty: "Where's the beef!?"

I was reminded of that question when I saw an Oklahoma television station's report on a purported petition in my home state asking Muslims to "go home." I avoid as much local TV news as I can, so I came across the story link via Tennessee-based Godbeat guru Bob Smietana's Twitter feed:

The top of the story:

DEL CITY, Okla. – A metro woman says fear about her religion led to an unusual encounter this week.
The Muslim woman says a woman asked her to sign a petition asking that all Muslims “go home.”
The run-in took place this week outside a gas station in Del City.
“Muslims are a peaceful people,” said Deb Beneta. “I wish people would see us as humans and not this mythical Muslim monster.”
Unfortunately for Deb, fear of the religion may be near an all-time high.

After reading the full report, I tweeted back at Bob:

Bob's response:

Good point — I didn't think it made all Oklahomans look bad. Made one person look bad. I've heard that "Muslims go home" demand a lot in recent years — from people in many states. A good reminder of how stories play differently for different audiences.

I appreciate Bob's perspective.

Here's my problem with the story from a journalistic frame of reference: KFOR-TV reports on a purported petition that an unnamed person at a gas station supposedly asked a Muslim woman to sign.

In what universe is this news?

After using this unconfirmed encounter as the news peg, the station proceeds to suggest that "fear of the religion may be near an all-time high." According to whom? 

The story provides no evidence to back up the claim, only this broad, sourceless statement:

ISIS, the group of Islamic extremists known for beheading Western hostages in the name of Islam, and a brutal attack at Vaughan Foods has many people on edge about the religion.

While I don't doubt that assertion may be true, this particular report fails to deliver the journalistic goods.

Where's the beef!?

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