A new online journalism course on Islam appears to downplay the threat posed by global jihad groups, suggesting reporters keep the death toll from Islamic terrorism in “context” by comparing that toll to the number of people killed every year by malaria, HIV/AIDS and other factors.

“Jihad is not a leading cause of death in the world,” the online course cautions studying journalists.

While that is technically true, researchers at the Culture and Media Institute who examined the online program took exception to that and numerous other claims made in the Poynter News University course.

Dan Gainor, vice president at the institute, said the course is sweeping these threats “under the rug,” while watering down the section on jihad with inappropriate comparisons.

“Infectious disease, we have government structures to prevent that, and that’s great … in radical Islam we have not even one organization but several organizations that are constantly seeking to kill Americans and others too,” he said. “It seems like journalists should not be involved in trying to downplay that.”

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