ABC's Dan Harris Links Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin to Anti-Muslim 'Anger,' Violence

Good Morning America's Dan Harris on Monday slipped in an aside about Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck that seemed to link the two conservatives to both violence against Muslims and a Florida minister's plan to burn on the Koran on 9/11.

Harris asserted, "It is but a preview of the anger we'll be seeing on the upcoming ninth anniversary of 9/11, now just five days away, which will include an event in Alaska featuring Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, a protest at Ground Zero and a Koran-burning ceremony at a church in Florida." [MP3 audio here.]

After the curious remark, Harris then played a clip of Pastor Terry Jones and added, "Critics say all this rhetoric is fueling anti-Muslim violence."

Beck's rally, which will take place in Alaska on Saturday, will obviously not involve the burning of the Koran.  

On Sunday's World News, a slightly altered version of the segment aired. Harris made the same connection: "And an event in Alaska that will includes Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, two of the most vocal opponents of the so-called Ground Zero mosque. Critics say all the rhetoric is fueling anti-Muslim violence, including a fire at the future site of a mosque in Tennessee, which just this weekend was ruled to be an act of arson."

On Monday's GMA, Harris featured only voices agreeing with his argument, including CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper. Hooper warned, "We are asking people to take into account security concerns given the almost hysterical atmosphere we're in right now."

Harris failed to note that in 2007 CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator for supporting Hamas. News anchor Juju Chang introduced the segment by fretting, "And, of course, the upcoming anniversary of 9/11 has many worried the strong words being heard may lead to violence against symbols of Islam across America."

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:10am EDT on September 6, follows:

DAVID MUIR: With the hurricane still heating up, another story causing a lot of controversy over the proposed Islamic center in Ground Zero. On, Sunday, in fact, a rally in downtown Manhattan held by a pastor from Florida did little to ease tensions. Disappointing

JUJU CHANG: And, of course, the upcoming anniversary of 9/11 has many worried the strong words being heard may lead to violence against symbols of Islam across America. Here's Dan Harris.

DAN HARRIS: This morning at a hotel near Ground Zero, a pastor from Florida will be holding the second in a series of services bashing the planned Muslim community center and promoting a competing Christian center that he plans to build.

BILL KELLER (pastor): When they decided to build a mosque and preach what I consider a 1,400-year-old lie from Hell, I decided that somebody should be down there preaching the truth of God's word.

HARRIS: It is but a preview of the anger we'll be seeing on the upcoming ninth anniversary of 9/11, now just five days away, which will include an event in Alaska featuring Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, a protest at Ground Zero and a Koran-burning ceremony at a church in Florida.

TERRY JONES (Pastor): We are going to have an International Burn a Koran Day.

HARRIS: Critics say all this rhetoric is fueling anti-Muslim violence. And, now, mosques around the country are reaching out to other faiths for help.

IBRAHIM HOOPER (CAIR National Communications Director): We are asking people to take into account security concerns given the almost hysterical atmosphere we're in right now.

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CHILDREN: I am American. I'm a Muslim.

HARRIS: Muslim groups are now running these ads designed to improve the image of the faith.

MALE: I don't want to take over this country.

FEMALE #1: Respect all people.

FEMALE #2: I am an American.

HARRIS: But there's another concern that many Muslims have about this 9/11 anniversary, due to a fluke in the calendar it happens to coincide with the festival of Eid, which has many people worried about Muslim celebrating being misconstrued. One positive note in all of this, in past years, the biggest political issue of 9/11 has been the lack of development at the actual Ground Zero site. But this year that has changed, these pictures shot this weekend show two new skyscrapers going up on their way to completion. For Good Morning America, Dan Harris, ABC News.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org