Hey media, here's one way to overcome that tired 'anti-Muslim backlash' storyline

The backlash is baa-aack.

More precisely, the "anti-Muslim backlash" stories are back. Just check out the front page of Thursday's USA Today:

As for an actual backlash against Muslims in the U.S.? That's a subject of some debate:

Here at GetReligion, of course, we've touched on this topic again and again and again:

With your indulgence, I'll reference one more time what I said in the immediate aftermath of this week's Brussels terror attacks:

Key, again, is factual reporting that highlights the various strains of Islam (as we have said a million times, there is "no one Islam") and avoids the simplistic "Islamophobia" propaganda that plagued so much of the coverage last time.

USA Today, whose news coverage is to journalism what McDonald's cheeseburgers are to fine dining, didn't get the memo. But give the national newspaper credit for going all the way with its totally predictable, stereotypical approach. This is the online headline on the story featured in Thursday's print edition:

'Islamophobia': U.S. cities face anti-Muslim backlash


So what's the cure for the tired brand of "reporting" demonstrated by USA Today? Glad you asked.

You heard about Ted Cruz's remarks concerning his desire to see stepped-up patrols of "Muslim neighborhoods," right?

Well, The Associated Press dispatched reporters to interview actual Muslims — ordinary people, not the same ole talking heads from CAIR — and produced an enlightening story:

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — A few miles from Disneyland is a place most tourists never see. The signs along the thoroughfare suddenly switch to Arabic script advertising hookah shops, Middle Eastern sweets and halal meat.
At a run-down strip mall in the neighborhood known as Little Arabia, flags from a half-dozen Muslim countries flap in a stiff breeze. Flying above them is a giant American flag.
After Sen. Ted Cruz called for increased surveillance of Muslims in the U.S., many people in this community and others like it either challenged the Republican presidential candidate or dismissed his comments as mostly meaningless rhetoric.
Majd Takriti, 43, stopped to discuss Cruz's remarks as he picked his mother up from a butcher shop. He said he took Cruz and rival Donald Trump with a grain of salt.
"A lot of what they say is to attract attention," Takriti said.

Later in the story, an Arab immigrant offers this insightful analysis:

At a nearby hookah shop displaying pipes in a rainbow of colors, employee Guss Zayat questioned whether IS members were true Muslims.
"They are killing more Muslims than anyone else in this world. They are killing children. They are killing Christians and Muslims in our home countries," said Zayat, who came to America from Beirut about three years ago. Politicians "should know the difference between ISIS and Islam."

Missing — and gleefully so — from the AP story: any reference to an "anti-Muslim backlash" or use of the term "Islamophobia."

This is what happens when the media resist overwrought narratives and do actual reporting in the real world. 

It's called journalism, folks.

Photo by Bobby Ross Jr. for The Christian Chronicle shows shoppers outside a halal meat market in Dearborn, Mich.

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