Immigration tensions have tilted another European election. This time it's Italy, where right-wing populists with an anti-immigrant bent have dominated the national vote.
Immigrants? Now who might journalists be referring to when they employ that generic term?
Could they mean, in Italy's case, Muslims from such war-devastated, poverty-stricken nations as Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, plus Africa’s Sahel, the broad swath of semi-arid land just south of the Arab north that is also predominantly Muslim?
But rather than stating what seems the obvious, some global media appear more comfortable leaving the immigrants’ primary religious affiliation -- Islam -- unsaid. Instead, they provide a geography lesson.
By which I mean that the immigrants' nations of origin, such as the ones I mentioned above, are cited instead of the immigrants primary religious affiliation, even though religion is far more of factor in Italy's case than are lines on a globe.
Take this New York Times analysis. It mentions immigration from Syria, Libya and Afghanistan, but not religion. I found similar wording in stories published by The Guardian, USA Today, The Washington Post, the Associated Press and other outlets.
Here’s how the Times piece handled this aspect of the story. This is long, but essential:
The issue continues to disrupt and inflame European politics, including in Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and now Italy. With Greece, Italy has borne the brunt of recent large movements of refugees and migrants into Europe from places such as Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.
There is a strong feeling that the mainstream parties have no answer and that Italy got little help from the European Union in Brussels or from other member states. Once Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany cut off the migrant flow through Central Europe by doing deals with Turkey, neither Berlin nor Brussels seemed to care any more, and a European policy on migration is still unresolved.