UPDATE: Do New York Times reporters read NewsBusters? NYT stealthily inserts a reference to 9/11 without informing readers of an update. The updated version appeared in Friday's print edition.
In the latest installment of its pro-bono PR campaign for the Ground Zero mosque, the New York Times attempted to draw parallels between opposition to the mosque and opposition to the construction of St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, built in lower Manhattan in 1785.
But somehow in his discussion of the mosque opponents, Times reporter Paul Vitello neglected to explicitly mention the September 11 terrorist attacks - you know, the events that form the entire basis for that opposition. The omission allowed the Times to continue drawing false parallels, and to implicitly perpetuate the notion that objections to the mosque are unfounded, dishonest, or bigoted.
More fundamentally, the article avoided mentioning 9/11 since doing so would have required the reporter to address the one monumental disconnect between the two cases: Catholics did not slaughter 2,852 innocent civilians in God's name two blocks from St. Peter's Church.
"Ever since 9/11, the media have been telling us that we shouldn't be judging all Muslims and blaming all Muslims for 9/11, which is absolutely fair and true. But [the media] can turn around and blame Christianity for any opposition to Muslims," lamented NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell on this morning's "Fox & Friends."
Just because "there is some fanatic somewhere in Tennessee who desecrates a mosque somewhere, Gary Bauer is being held responsible for it. This is the double standard," the Media Research Center president argued, responding to a clip from Sunday of a testy exchange ABC "This Week" host Christiane Amanpour and the president of the social conservative group American Values.
"Christiane Amanpour was supposed to be the moderator" of the townhall forum, not a participant, Bozell complained. "She doesn't understand that," instead seeing herself in the role of an "educator" to her television audience.
For the full segment's video, click the play button on the embed above or click here to download the WMV video. For the MP3 audio, click here.
American Values president Gary Bauer on Monday said the audience at ABC's "Holy War" special edition of "This Week" was stocked with people that support radical Islam and the building of the Ground Zero mosque.
As NewsBusters reported after Sunday's program, host Christiane Amanpour presented a tremendously skewed view of so-called American Islamophobia cueing up advocates of the premise while attempting to discredit skeptics.
One of those in attendance was Bauer who in a radio interview with WOR's Steve Malzberg the following day said the audience was also stacked to support the Islamophobia view (audio follows with transcript and commentary):
After two shows featuring six advocates of the Ground Zero mosque, including Iman Faisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan, but not a single guest to counter Christiane Amanpour’s contention opposition “has raised profound questions about religious tolerance and prejudice in the United States,” ABC on Sunday decided to air a pre-recorded and edited “special This Week town hall debate, Holy War: Should Americans Fear Islam?” Amanpour promised: “We air the issue from all sides.”
While twelve guests in total from both sides of the question earned air time (six on stage, three more in the Manhattan studio audience and three via satellite), Amanpour was more hostile to those who answered in the affirmative than she was toward those in the negative, cuing up advocates to correct critics, culminating in Amanpour trying to discredit critics by proposing “you think Daisy Khan is al Qaeda?”
She accused Gary Bauer of “blurring the lines between those who killed and the rest of the religion. Why are you deliberately blurring the lines?” And she charged: “So, Gary Bauer, as you know, a series of politicians have used the Islamic center, have used sort of Islamophobia and scare tactics in their campaigns.” Raising the vandalism at the site of a proposed mosque in Tennessee, Amanpour asserted: “After some of the loaded things that have been said, and we can play you any number of tapes, Mr. Bauer. Do you take any responsibility at all for, for instance, what happened in Murfreesboro?” Bauer was incredulous: “Are you serious?”
You have to wonder what on earth ABC’s “This Week” host Christiane Amanpour is thinking by holding a so-called town hall meeting this close to a pivotal midterm election.
On the Oct. 3 broadcast of “This Week,” the brainiacs at ABC determined it would be appropriate to pitch Christian leaders against moderate and extremist Muslims. This choice of programming comes at a time when many conservatives have been chastised for being outspoken over the placement of an Islamic worship center near the Sept. 11 Ground Zero site.
However, perhaps the most alarming statement on Amanpour’s program came from Anjem Choudary, a former British solicitor, Muslim cleric, and spokesman for the group Islam4UK. Choudary contends eventually you'll see global Islamic rule, including here in the United States.
Last week, on the Thursday, September 23, The Ed Show, MSNBC host Ed Schultz touted inflammatory Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson as an example that other Democrats should be following, and, apparently oblivious to the history of partisan polls being notoriously inaccurate, treated with credibility a poll conducted for Grayson’s campaign which showed the Democratic incumbent 13 points ahead of his Republican challenger, Daniel Webster, as evidence that other Democrats should learn from the Florida Congressman. Notably, a Sunshine State/VSS poll released this week finds Grayson trailing Republican Webster by seven points, 43 to 36 percent.
On his radio show Monday, Schultz even praised Grayson's controversial ad that compares Webster's religious views to the Taliban, declaring, "I love it," and, during a panel discussion on Monday's The Ed Show on MSNBC, Schultz played a clip of the ad without noting its blatantly dishonest distortion of the Republican’s words. The MSNBC host, who introduced the ad by calling it a "blockbuster," ended up claiming that Grayson’s activities were no worse than those of Republicans as he debated conservative talk radio host Michael Medved.
Back to the September 23 Ed Show, Schultz plugged his interview with Grayson at the top of the show, contending that the Florida Democrat "is a loud and proud progressive, and it’s working with voters in his district," and later introduced the segment declaring his belief that Grayson's alleged success offered "hope" for struggling Democrats:
Since Bill Maher released a video of Christine O'Donnell saying evolution is a myth, the Left and their media minions have been falling all over themselves ridiculing the Republican senatorial candidate from Delaware.
Throwing some deliciously cold water on the attacks Tuesday was the Weekly Standard's P.J. O'Rourke.
Appearing on MSNBC's "Hardball," O'Rourke told the perilously liberal host after he showed O'Donnell's remark, "I`ve got some problems with evolution myself."
"I look around at, say, Democrats and I say, 'That`s evolved?'" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Ann Coulter on Monday explained to Larry King why so many Americans think Barack Obama is a Muslim.
Appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live" with Professor Marc Lamont Hill, Coulter pointed out how odd it is that this number has increased since Obama was elected, "Usually the truth moves in the opposite direction."
She continued, "The answer is because he seems foreign to them, that he's pushing this European health care system on America, that he doesn't listen to the American people, that he doesn't cite God when he mentions the Declaration of Independence. He seems alien, and I keep telling them, 'No, he's not a Muslim, he's an atheist.'"
This led King to ask, "Do you need to believe in God to govern?" And that's when the fun started (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Eric Bolling's new show on the Fox Business Channel, Money Rocks, saw a significant display of fireworks this evening. During a discussion of some already controversial statements made by Democratic strategist, Bob Beckel, a very heated exchange developed involving Beckel and Atlas Shrugs publisher, Pamela Geller.
The controversy started when Bolling played a clip of Beckel's previous appearance on the show in which he stated:
"Look, at some point, I know it's sensitive here in New York and probably New Jersey, but we have to get over 9/11."
What did he mean by ‘we have to get over 9/11'? According to Beckel, this was simply an expression of frustration for a variety of things, such as extra security at airports and a few other minor inconveniences designed to catch "a bunch of non-existent terrorists."
The short list of ‘non-existent terrorists' since 9/11 that Mr. Beckel must be referring to, include the Madrid train bombers, Russian train bombers, Shoe Bomber, the Lackawanna Six, Fort Hood assassin, the Virginia ‘Jihad' Network, Christmas Day bomber, Fort Dix plotters, and the Times Square bomber.
Beckel might have been feeling the stress of trying to defend such a blatantly insensitive statement, by providing a blatantly inaccurate defense, as he experienced a misogynistic meltdown directed at Geller in the middle of the segment in which he said:
"You're a woman, you better be careful about saying who I carry water for."
In a Sunday 60 Minutes story that gave a glowing portrayal of the real estate developer and imam behind the Ground Zero mosque, CBS anchor Scott Pelley also used the opportunity to smear opponents of the project: "...a national controversy with anger, passion, and more than a little misinformation. Opponents whipped up a fury, calling the project a grotesque mega-mosque tied to terrorism."
Pelley began by touting how building developer Sharif El-Gamal was simply trying to improve a "dingy block in lower Manhattan" and that he "thought his project would be a step up for a seedy part of downtown." Pelley described how "the community enthusiastically agreed. The plan was endorsed by the Mayor, the borough president, and the community board." He then emphasized the distance from Ground Zero: "You can't see Ground Zero from here, but when you make the corner...you can see the cranes where the new World Trade Center buildings are going up....It took us another two minutes to walk to the edge of what the government officially designates as Ground Zero."
Pelley highlighted El-Gamal's multi-cultural background: "...you're a Muslim who married a Christian girl. Your mother is Catholic. And you joined the Jewish community center on the West Side of Manhattan." However, he then turned to mosque opponent Pamela Geller, whom he characterized as "a former New York media executive who writes a politically far Right blog that mixes news, opinion, and conspiracy theories."
Catching up on an item from the August 22, Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN, host Zakaria -- formerly of Newsweek -- ended his show with commentary in which he ridiculously suggested that Americans who oppose construction of a mosque near Ground Zero could learn a lesson about tolerance from the terrorist group Hezbollah, and cited the group as being accepting of diverse religions – including Judaism – in Lebanon in light of the restoration of a synagogue in Beirut. Without informing viewers of the history of viciously anti-Semitic speech from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and other leading figures within the anti-Israel group, the CNN anchor quoted Hezbollah’s claim that, rather than being anti-Semitic, they are simply opposed to "Israel’s occupation of Arab lands." Zakaria:
The project is said to have found support in many parts of the community, not just from the few remaining Jews there, but also Christians and Muslims and Hezbollah. Yes, Hezbollah, the one that the United States has designated a foreign terrorist organization. Hezbollah’s view on the renovation goes like this: Quote, "We respect divine religions, including the Jewish religion. The problem is with Israel’s occupation of Arab lands, not with the Jews." Food for thought.
But, as recounted by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), Hezbollah members not only desire to take over all of Israel which they consider to be occupied, but the group’s leader Nasrallah has been very direct in his anti-Semitic speech, once even declaring that if the Jewish people "all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide."
Monday night marks the debut of Lawrence O'Donnell's very own show, called The Last Word, on MSNBC and if his guest spots on various programs on that network and the syndicated McLaughlin Group over the last few years are any indication, he's bound to give Keith Olbermann a run for his money for over-the-top loony tirades.
O'Donnell reared his bigoted side on the December 8, 2007 edition of the McLaughlin Group. He not only went after former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, but also his faith, seen in the following rants he made after the former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate delivered a speech defending his "demented, Scientology-like" Mormon faith:
Catching up on an item from the Thursday, September 9, The View on ABC, Barbara Walters was at odds with her co-hosts over the issue of whether racism was the primary motivation of the Arizona illegal immigration law as well as opposition to the Ground Zero mosque. Whoopi Goldberg raised the question of whether "there may be an undercurrent of racism in the USA that’s building up," leading co-host Sherri Shepherd to assert that "you certainly hear racism a lot more, I think, than you ever heard it." Walters soon jumped in to voice dissent:
I think that we're kind of mixing things up. When you say there's more racism now, oh, there's so much less racism than 20 years ago or 50 years ago. ... There is racism in this country. That's not new. There is racism against the President. That's not new. But I disagree with putting the mosque and the Arizona laws. I think the Arizona laws have to do with losing jobs and people coming across the border to get those jobs.
After Goldberg responded, "Then why don't they say that?" Walters continued:
ABC on Friday did its best to find secret discrimination against Muslims, sending Good Morning America's Bianna Golodryga undercover in a hijab (Islamic head covering). Yet, despite the misleading graphic, "Life Under the Veil: TV Experiment Exposes Bias," the morning show didn't find much bigotry.
Late in the segment, Golodryga admitted, "Overt discrimination is the exception." When an ABC producer tried the experiment in New York, the correspondent acknowledged, "Everywhere, people went out of their way to be friendly." [MP3 audio here.]
Yet, Golodryga kept trying. Going to the red state of Texas, she explained, "But it was different in my hometown of Houston. At the airport, I could feel all the eyes on me."
UPDATE (9/30 - 1:13 pm): The Society of Professional Journalists emailed me requesting a correction. Clarification - though no correction - below the fold.
When American religious leaders spoke out against the planned burning of Korans by a crazy Florida pastor, it was a hot news item. Likewise, when another group of clergy condemned the supposed "anti-Muslim frenzy" in the United States, the media ate it up.
But when, on Tuesday, scores of prominent American and Canadian Muslims spoke out against "threats that have been made against individual writers, cartoonists, and others by a minority of Muslims" with the express purpose of silencing speech, the media was conspicuously silent. It remains so today.
"We, the undersigned," declares a petition at the website of The American Muslim, "unconditionally condemn any intimidation or threats of violence directed against any individual or group exercising the rights of freedom of religion and speech; even when that speech may be perceived as hurtful or reprehensible."
A New York Times reporter, who has co-authored several fawning articles on the Ground Zero mosque, previously attended a media training program run by the mosque's organizer, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, according to the group's website.
The journalist, Sharaf Mowjood, participated in an April, 2009 media training program led by Rauf's American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), reported the Investigative Project on Terrorism on Sept. 20. Rauf founded ASMA in 1997, and currently serves as the group's CEO.
Mowjood's first article on the Ground Zero mosque - a glowing, 1,200-word piece titled "Muslim Prayers and Renewal Near Ground Zero" - was co-authored with Ralph Blumenthal in December, 2009. All eight of the sources cited in the piece said they approved of the Ground Zero project or lauded its leader Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
Mowjood was also a contributing reporter to a similarly sympathetic piece on the mosque on Aug. 11, as well as a flattering front-page profile on Rauf that ran in the paper on Aug. 22.
Here's a fact you're not likely to see on tonight's evening news broadcasts: According to a recent poll, Arabs living abroad are more likely to be opposed to the "Ground Zero Mosque" than the American media are.
According to a recent survey by the Arabic online news service Elaph (Arabic version here), 58 percent of Arabs think the construction should be moved elsewhere. And according to a Media Research Center study released last week, 55 percent of network news coverage of the debate has come down on the pro-Mosque side.
The MRC study also found that on the question of whether opposition to the mosque demonstrated a widely held "Islamophobia" among Americans, 93 percent of network news soundbites answered ion the affirmative. In contrast, when asked whether the United States is a "tolerant" or "bigoted" society, 63 percent of Elaph respondents chose the former.
Disgraced former White House correspondent Helen Thomas will be receiving a lifetime achievement award next month from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Coming roughly three months after Thomas was forced to resign from Hearst Newspapers for disgustingly telling Israeli Jews to move back to Germany and Poland and "get the hell out of Palestine," this is clearly going to raise a lot of eyebrows especially with all the media's recent hyperventilation over so-called Islamophobia.
Consider how the following report from The Hill is going to play in an environment where the press are accusing Americans of being anti-Muslim (h/t Hot Air headlines):
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, host Jon Scott picked up on a recent "Media Reality Check" report by the Media Research Center – parent organization to NewsBusters – titled "Smearing America as Islamophobic," which documented that the mainstream media have portrayed America as Islamophobic because of public opposition to the Ground Zero mosque. Scott: "The Media Research Center, Jim, released a study this week titled 'Smearing America as Islamophobic.' The overall thrust is that networks like NBC, CBS, ABC are calling these protests at Ground Zero, protests over the mosque, Islamophobia. Do they have a point?’"
After panel member Jim Pinkerton of the New America Foundation voiced his agreement with the MRC’s findings, Scott seemed to pick up on another MRC/NewsBusters item as he quoted ABC’s Christiane Amanpour from last week’s This Week show when she portrayed America as Islamophobic. Scott: "Let me read you a quote from Christiane Amanpour... At the top of her show on Sunday, she noted the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that had just passed, and she said, ‘She said nine years later, the growing hostility toward Muslim-Americans. Not since 9/11 has the country seen such anti-Muslim fervor,’ and said, ‘Muslim-Americans are feeling vulnerable.’ Where’s her proof?"
Yet in neither of two separate articles by the Associated Press (Nicole Winfield and David Stringer/Victor L. Simpson) do the writers mention a possible extremist Muslim/Islamic connection. The writers simply identified the suspects as "London street cleaners."
Imagine six Israelis had been arrested in the US and charged with possibly plotting against a visiting ayatollah. Rhetorical question: would Today have mentioned their nationality and/or religion?
But when reportedly six Algerian Muslims were arrested in the UK and charged with possibly plotting against visiting Pope Benedict XVI, Today breathed not a word of their identity. Reporter Nina Dos Santos spoke only of "the specter of terror" having reared its head in London, and of "yesterday's arrests." But Dos Santos never said what form that specter took . . . or who was arrested.
Closing out the "Media Mash" segment on the September 16 edition of his eponymous "Hannity" program, the Fox News host asked for NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell's reaction to NBC's Meredith Vieira telling House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) that the Bush tax cuts "didn't succeed" and asking him "what's so good about them?":
Memo to Meredith [Vieira]: You can have a debate about what future tax cuts might or might not result in but a record is a record. Under George Bush, 8 million jobs were created with his tax cuts. With Ronald Reagan's tax cuts there were 20 million jobs created. We've done nothing but lose jobs with Barack Obama with the stimulus package. Truth is truth, facts are facts. Don't go on television saying it didn't work. It did work!
The economy-boosting, jobs-creating benefits of across-the-board tax cuts are not all the media are not telling the truth about. The Media Research Center founder and president also addressed how the media, particularly ABC's Christiane Amanpour are smearing everyday Americans as "Islamophobic" [Listen to MP3 audio here or download WMV video here]:
People have asked me my opinion of the Rev. Terry Jones' threat to burn the Quran this past weekend. Personally I think the best thing to do with this story is to not give this insignificant media-hound with all of fifty parishioners avoice. But it's way too late for that now. So, of course I find the action in poor taste - I would never burn any religion's sacred parchment. That is just wrong and disrespectful to millions trying to practice their faith and go about their daily lives in peace.
But (there's always a "but" in such testy cases), when I juxtapose this one twisted symbolic gesture against the disregard-and I would argue contempt-being shown by so-called "moderate" practitioners of Islam who insist on building their mosque almost on top of the ashes of 9/11 victims against the wishes of so many Americans, I can understand the frustration that creates a Jones and his ilk. And the fact is, as Mayor Bloomberg offered up, if there is freedom of speech for the fanatical Muslim goose, it must also be for the crackpot Christian gander.
By a wide margin — 66 percent to 29 percent, according to the most recent ABC News/ Washington Post poll — the public is opposed to building that proposed $100 million Islamic cultural center near the site of the destroyed World Trade Towers. This is not a lightly-held opinion: more than half (53%) told ABC news they are “strongly opposed” to building it near Ground Zero, vs. only 14 percent who report being “strongly” in favor. (Scroll to Question 30.)
So in the face of such obvious public sentiment, are the big broadcast networks reflecting such public sentiment in their coverage? Or are journalists implicitly repudiating their viewers by touting accusations that opposition to the mosque is motivated by America’s supposed “Islamophobia”?
To find out, MRC analysts reviewed all 52 stories about the Ground Zero mosque on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts from August 14 through September 13 — the first month after President Obama propelled the issue into the headlines with his remarks at a White House dinner.
Appearing as a guest on Tuesday’s Larry King Live on CNN, comedian Bill Maher picked up on a recent contention by Newt Gingrich that President Obama is motivated by anti-colonialism which his Kenyan father felt as the Real Time with Bill Maher host smeared the potential 2012 Republican presidential field as racist:
How are they going to out-firebreathe each other? I mean, where this rhetoric has gone to at this point. It’s only 2010, and we’re having Newt Gingrich, as we were talking about before, calling him an anti-colonial Luo tribesman. ... That’s the new Kenyan, Larry. And Kenyan, of course, was code for n*****. But that’s where they are. They can’t say it out loud. But that’s where this whole campaign is going to be. You asked about racism. It’s all about racism. They cannot fathom this idea that there is a black President. And that’s what they are going to fight about.
Maher also declared that, while he personally likes Delaware GOP senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell because she is a "nice person" who used to be a frequent guest on his Politically Incorrect show in the 1990s, that he was also cheering for her and other "tea baggers" to win GOP primaries, declaring that "she's going to get her Christian ass kicked in the general election."
And, as the topic turned to the Ground Zero mosque, while Maher acknowledged that there is a substantial amount of Islamic extremism in the world, he believed using the military against it makes it worse, and suggested that, because 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has already been captured, America should declare victory and New Yorkers should "forget about it." Referring to the 9/11 mastermind, Maher declared:
On the September 11th Saturday Early Show, CBS News Middle East analyst Reza Aslan slammed opponents of the Ground Zero mosque as having "unapologetically politicized" 9/11 and being part of a "whole wave of anti-Muslim sentiment."
While he denounced others for trying to "take advantage of this symbol for their own political purposes," Aslan made his comments only seconds after live coverage of the first moment of silence for victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Co-host Chris Wragge accepted Aslan's characterization of the controversy and responded: "...this is not an opportunity to add controversy into the mix. If there's one day, you know what, to keep our mouths quiet and let's just reflect on the lives lost, today is it, you don't mess with that."
Aslan followed up by admitting: "I'll be honest with you, I hope that there is kind of a backlash against what's going on right now. As you know, at 1pm today there'll be a rally in support of the so-called Park 51 project, at 3pm there'll be this international rally against it. So, I'm hoping that Americans all over the country see these images and think we've gone too far."
He later specifically condemned mosque opponents: "...particularly in the case of this sort of international anti-Islam rally that's being brought by this group called Stop Islamization of America. And they're inviting all these European anti-Muslim politicians in to speak. I mean, that's really now taking this to a whole other level."
Comedian Bill Maher took his anti-religion, anti-conservative views off HBO and into the mainstream Sept. 13 during an appearance on NBC's "Tonight Show." Maher told host Jay Leno he's against the Ground Zero Mosque, because he's "against a mosque anywhere. I'm against a church anywhere, or a Hindu temple or a synagogue."
Maher declared that houses of worship are "places that people go to retell nonsense stories from a time before men understood what a germ or an atom was, or where the sun went at night. They try to telepathically communicate with their imaginary friend. These are places that fleece people, and scare people and they perpetuate mass delusion. We shouldn't build any of them."
But Maher conceded that because the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, "they should be able to build them anywhere."
He also attacked conservatives and Sarah Palin, calling her an "evil dingbat."
Rev. Terry Jones may have announced on Saturday's Today that he wouldn't be burning any Korans, but on Sunday Today, NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory was suggesting Jones wasn't worthy of anyone's airtime: "I don't see why this pastor Jones has any sort of forum or any platform that's worthy of discussion."
Did Gregory lose that debate inside NBC?
When asked by anchor Jenna Wolfe about the Koran-burning controversy, Gregory insisted that President Obama's opposition will have a "big impact," and yet, when asked if this incident would hurt America abroad, he didn't think so (after all, Obama has been so effective at that outreach to the Muslim world):
Rev. Al Sharpton, last seen leading a small leftist counter-protest of Glenn Beck's rally in Washington on August 28, complained on his radio show Friday that Rev. Terry Jones shouldn't have gotten media attention because he's doing "nothing but hatemongering." (Al Sharpton, by contrast, is the Apostle of Love.)
A lot of people wonder why we in civil rights get attention. Now we can produce our following and our members, tens of thousands of people at marches, all kind of stuff and we project an issue that helps people and they say we get too much media coverage. This guy in Florida is doing nothing but hatemongering, has fifty members on a good Sunday and the whole world is standing still. And y’all wonder why I say the media is imbalanced and unfair.
Turning to Smokey Fontaine of the black website NewsOne.com, Sharpton complained that even Barack Obama was forced to address Jones at his press conference: