'Islamophobia': In reports on student kicked off Southwest flight, there's that term again

We journalists love victims.

Victims make for easy stories and enticing clickbait.

For one example, see GetReligion's posts on this week's alleged-gay-slur-on-a-cake-sold-by-Whole-Foods brouhaha: here and here.

For another, perhaps you've heard about the college student who was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight for the crime of ... speaking Arabic: 

To read the news reports, it seems obvious that the student is a victim of "Islamophobia." Yes, that vague, undefined term shows up in most of these stories with no real explanation of what it means. Again.

If you're a regular reader of GetReligion, you know how we feel about that:

The only problem: When you read the full details of what happened in the latest scenario, it becomes a bit more complicated than the simple headlines.

In the hometown of Southwest's headquarters, the Dallas Morning News published a front-page column today making that case:

The Texas newspaper's lede:

Southwest Airlines doesn’t have to apologize for doing its job. And its No. 1 job — ahead of happy employees, good customer service and the stock price — is providing safe air travel for over 100 million people a year.
That responsibility is so grave that there’s only one acceptable way to err: by going too far in pursuit of safety.
Then, when the inevitable mistakes happen, they won’t be a matter of life or death.
The latest case in point involves a college student and former Iraqi refugee, who said he was yanked off a Southwest flight after speaking Arabic on a cellphone call. That was the initial version of events as reported in his school newspaper at the University of California at Berkeley.
When The New York Times followed up several days later, it added an important detail. During the call, the student mentioned the Islamic State. He was telling his uncle in Baghdad about an event that included a speech by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. He stood up to ask about the terror group, he said, then ended the call with a common phrase in Arabic, “inshallah,” meaning “god willing.”
Does that sound suspicious to you?

Here's my question: Why does it take a column to raise that issue? Isn't that a perspective that — along with the student's claims of Islamophobic mistreatment — should be included in news reports?

Is it possible for we journalists both to love victims and provide full, fair, balanced news coverage?

Just asking.

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