If the answer to this question is "no," a case can still be made that the cable news network is on track to rival Fox News in promoting the worst Islamophobic stereotypes. The latest controversy involving an interview with Reza Aslan raises serious concerns about CNN's willingness to tap into and reinforce widespread prejudices against Islam in order to generate ratings.
Ben is talking about Muslims who aspire to the same things that all people of genuine good will aspire to, aspirations widely shared by most Americans. Hard work. Raising a family. Giving to charity. Practicing our faith. And the opportunity to do so free of judgment -- certainly free of fear or violence.
As the fight against ISIS/ISIL continues, and so do our campaigns to fight terrorism around the world, we are bound to be reminded that we are not in a war against Islam. But why is it that when I turn on the news, listen to people discuss Islam or look at images of Muslims in popular culture, it damn sure feels like we are.
For all of the great work Bill Maher does by adding an unapologetically liberal voice to sensitive topics, his recent heated debate with actor Ben Affleck and author Sam Harris has put Bill at odds with many liberals. The biggest problem with Bill's stance is that he seems content to shout into the wind.
When Ben Affleck differentiates the extremists from the overwhelming majority of peaceful Muslims, and when Harris and Maher claim that polls indicate the extreme are a larger part of the overall pie than we think, Affleck's argument is not only stronger, but correlates to the raison detre for both the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.