WSJ Editor To Staff: Stop Using The Term 'Majority Muslim' When Writing About Travel Ban

The use of the term “Muslim ban” to describe President Trump’s executive order, temporarily banning travel from seven nations and putting on refugee programs is flat-out wrong. There may be plenty to criticize about the EO and how it was rolled out but to call it a “Muslim ban” is to describe inaccurately.


It’s one thing for left-wing arms of the Democratic party like Media Matters to do it, but when the editorial staff of the New York Times calls it a “Muslim ban” they may as well be spreading “fake news.” The Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief is now telling staff no to use the phrase “majority Muslim” when writing about the EO because it lends weight to the notion the President’s EO was based on religion:

Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerry Baker has instructed editors to stop referring to the countries targeted in President Trump’s travel and refugee executive order as “seven majority Muslim countries” in news coverage, a move that has irked some reporters in the paper’s Washington bureau.

“It’s very loaded. The reason they’ve been chosen is not because they’re majority Muslim but because they’re on the list of countries Obama identified as countries of concern,” Baker wrote to top editors in an email obtained by BuzzFeed News.
The seven countries are Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya, and Yemen.

In the email to staff he said:

Given some media reports concerning some editing-related emails I sent last night, let me make a few points about our continuing coverage of President Trump’s executive order on travel to the U.S.

There is no ban on the phrase “Muslim-majority country. ” But we should always be careful that this term is not offered as the only description of the countries covered under the ban.

What we should do, in keeping with our long history of fair and thorough reporting, is prominently present the fact the immigration suspension applies to seven Muslim-majority countries along with the administration’s rationale: an effort to prevent terrorists from entering the U.S.


This is entirely appropriate. Their reporting should reflect the policy, not highlight the dominant religion of each country when the policy has nothing to do with religion.


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