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."
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:
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.
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?"
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."
New York Times columnist Charles Blow wrote a short piece on the ninth anniversary of 9/11 that should be must-reading for all Americans on both sides of the aisle.
In fact, I'm sure liberal Times devotees will be just as shocked by "A Lesson From 9/11" as conservatives that take the three minutes necessary to get through it.
After sharing his experience as a New Yorker who was in Manhattan that awful day, Blow marvelously tied it all together with what Americans have fought and died for since our forefathers were colonists:
Those are the two most prevalent words uttered or typed on this tragically historic day.
For many, September 11, 2001, was a day that will forever be seared into the minds of those who were witness. On that day, the nation was awoken by a harsh reality that some people want nothing more than to destroy our freedom, our way of life. It was a day that 19 hijackers, four airplanes, two towers, and one deranged ideology brought the threat of terrorism to the forefront in our country.
But a mere nine years after 9/11, has the leadership of this nation, both administrative and media related, already forgotten?
Yesterday, on the eve of the anniversary of 9/11, the President of the United States of America had the tone deaf audacity to ignore the concept of time and place, choosing to defend the building of the Ground Zero victory mosque. In his news conference, President Obama said that the proposed New York City mosque has run up against the "extraordinary sensitivities around 9/11." In other words, he hears the sensitivities, he simply does not care.
Alan Colmes on the ninth anniversary of 9/11 said America shouldn't commemorate these attacks every year, and was nicely smacked down by Judith Miller for his smarmy efforts.
Discussing the anniversary coverage on "Fox News Watch," Colmes said, "Every 9/11 it's become like a national day of remembrance, which I understand from an emotional standpoint, but I wonder if it's such a good idea that every year we make such a big deal on the media of it being 9/11."
Miller shot back, "The reason you do it is to remember why we have the counter-terrorism policies we have...We need to be reminded why we're doing this."
Colmes pathetically replied, "9/11 should not be revered as some kind of national almost holiday."
"It's not revered. It's commemorated," said Miller (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Saturday’s Good Morning America on ABC, during a discussion of the Ground Zero mosque and the possibility of Koran burning in Florida by Pastor Terry Jones, after anchor Dan Harris brought up the naive liberal expectation that President Obama would be able to improve relations with the Muslim world because of his family connections to Islam and his inaugural speech reaching out to Muslims, ABC News consultant Richard Clarke suggested that Obama’s inaugural address had "helped a lot" to make America safer before being derailed by recent controversies. Clarke's suggestion came after he had argued that recent events have made America "a lot less safe," with the conversation continuing:
DAN HARRIS: But, you know, there was all this talk when President Obama was inaugurated that here's a man whose middle name was "Hussein," he spent part of his childhood in a Muslim country, he's made a LOT of effort to reach out to the Muslim world, and, in fact, gave an impassioned set of statements on this very issue yesterday. Has none of that helped?
RICHARD CLARKE: Well, it did help. When he said in his inaugural address, "America is not at war with Islam," that helped a lot. But the recent controversies have undone all of that.
Clarke – a former counterterrorism advisor for both the Clinton and Bush administrations who has a history of sharp criticism of the Bush administration’s response to 9/11 – later in the segment vaguely impugned the Bush administration’s reaction to the 9/11 attacks: "We have to anticipate that there will be another attack. And we have to think about what our reaction's going to be when that occurs. Last time, a lot of our reaction was counterproductive."
Nine years and it still seems like we just woke from a nightmare. September 11, 2001, is seared into the national consciousness like Pearl Harbor 60 years before - only worse because we watched it on television as it happened. A nation was transfixed while 3,000 of our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers, our classmates and our family members perished in violence and fire.
They were killed in the Twin Towers, in a field in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon itself. Police officers and fire fighters fell by the hundreds trying to save as many as they could. All were victims of the kind of terror Americans had grown used to hearing about elsewhere. But not here.
A grieving America turned to images of the Statue of Liberty to find solace. Artists from around the world depicted the statue as sad or proud or a mother defending her child. Our nation rallied under the motto: "United We Stand."
Now we know we were never all that united. Soon after fire fighters raised a flag in the ruins of New York, the fingerpointing began. George Bush was to blame, though he only recently had taken office. America was to blame because of its longstanding friendship with Israel. Everyone was to blame it seemed, except the monsters driven by hate to harm the innocent.
Not long after the Twin Towers fell, the crazy conspiracies rose in their place. The attack was an inside job we were told as the 9/11 truther industry spread like the plague it is. By 2004, "half (49.3%) of New York City residents and 41% of New York citizens overall say that some of our leaders ‘knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act,'" according to a Zogby International poll.
Washington Post staff writer Anne Kornblut used her question at a White House press conference on Friday to worry that, despite Barack Obama making it a "priority," anti-Muslim "suspicion" still existed in America.
She queried the President, "Nine years after the September 11th attacks, why do you think it is that we are now seeing such an increase in suspicion and outright resentment of Islam, especially given that it has been one of your priorities to improve relations with the Muslim world?" [MP3 audio here.]
Obama's response seemed to echo his infamous 2008 comment about Americans being "bitter" and "clinging" to their guns. He proclaimed, "You know, I think that at a time when the country is anxious generally and going through a tough time, then, you know, fears can surface, suspicions, divisions can surface in a society. And, so, I think that plays a role in it."
Snatching the proverbial low-hanging fruit off the branch, Arianna Huffington compared the vast majority of Americans who oppose the construction of a mosque close to Ground Zero to the thirty members of a Florida church who plan to burn copies of the Koran on 9/11. Appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America" today, the liberal publisher criticized the president for not echoing her logical fallacy.
"I think the point [President Barack Obama] could have made is to connect [Koran burning] with the opposition of the mosque," asserted Huffington, publisher of The Huffington Post. "You can't really completely separate these things."
Huffington then attempted to pass off circular logic as a "teachable moment:"
Taking in the current furor over the tiny-church-of-Koran-bonfires story, The Washington Post front page today strangely suggested "Debate may drown out quite 9/11 reflections," with "post-attack unity lost." Does anyone remember any 9/11 anniversaries after the first one that were all about "unity" and were free of partisanship?
The blog Daily Kos was lobbing bombs at "right-wing white guys" Wednesday. In her praise of the new book-length rant "American Taliban" by top Kosmonaut Markos Moutlisas, "Hippie grandmother" Jane Stillwater pleaded, "Right-Wing white guys, it's time for you to stop acting like General Custer."
You have no idea how lucky we are that this tactic of "bringing the war home" has not happened in America except only once so far. We have been just plain LUCKY so far -- that Middle Easterners, Latin Americans, Africans and Asians haven't dragged any more of Eisenhower's or Johnson's or Nixon's or Reagan's or Bush's or Obama's wars out of the streets of cities like Saigon, Mogadishu, Gaza, San Salvador, East Timor, Santiago, Shanghai, Baghdad, Tehran, Brazzaville, Port-au-Prince and Kabul and into the streets of our American cities.
We have been very lucky that, so far, we have only suffered just one 9-11 -- when you consider the many past decades of America's habitual and continual shabby treatment of "Others" all over the world.
In an interview with controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones on Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith doubted whether or not Muslim extremism was really a threat: "Would you regard radical Islam, then, as the enemy?"
While Jones' plan to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of 9/11 has been rightfully condemned as offensive and an unnecessary provocation, Smith's response of questioning the danger of Islamic radicalism altogether denies the ideological motivation of America's enemies. After Jones described receiving threats over his planned event, Smith responded by quoting scripture: "...you're a student of the New testament, I'm sure. Did not Jesus say you're to love your enemy?"
After Jones continued to defend the burning of the Muslim religious text, Smith again cited the Bible: "But there are at least two different times in Matthew and Luke where Jesus is quite, quite clear about loving – about loving your enemy." Concluding the interview, Smith commented: "Well, I know you say you've been praying about it. And I hope that you find the wisdom in order to do the right thing, as the next couple of days unfold."
Reporting ABC News President David Westin's plan to step down at the end of the year, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz noted “some early missteps” during his 13-year tenure, such as “a comment after the Sept. 11 attacks, for which Westin apologized, that journalists should offer no opinion about whether the Pentagon had been a legitimate military target.”
That apology was promoted by an MRC CyberAlert item in October of 2001 which put into play an answer Westin delivered during a Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism seminar. Barely six weeks after the 9/11 attack, Westin was remarkably reticent about expressing an opinion, contending that's improper for a journalist to do so – how quaint:
The Pentagon as a legitimate target? I actually don’t have an opinion on that and it’s important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now....Our job is to determine what is, not what ought to be and when we get into the job of what ought to be I think we’re not doing a service to the American people....As a journalist I feel strongly that’s something that I should not be taking a position on. I’m supposed to figure out what is and what is not, not what ought to be.
NBC's Richard Engel has done some good reporting from Iraq. But scratch the reporter's surface, and you find a political partisan eager to echo the anti-Bush party line. Witness his exchange with Ari Fleischer on Morning Joe today. Engel twisted the former Bush press secretary's words, accusing him of alleging an Osama Bin Laden connection with Iraq. Fleischer had palpably said no such thing.
The springboard was Fleischer's citation of a 1998 OBL interview in which the terrorist boss said America was weak because it is unable to see through long wars. Fleischer went on to argue that America's resolve will be tested should things go badly wrong in Iraq or Afghanistan, thus putting under pressure the arbitrary dates that have been set for US withdrawal from those countries.
Engel jumped in to accuse Fleischer of claiming an OBL tie with Iraq. Even after Fleischer made explicitly clear he was alleging no such connection, Engel obdurately pressed his point.
Defenders of controversial imam Feisal Abdul Rauf have been touting his past efforts in offering counterterrorism advice to the FBI as a way to illustrate his bridge-building intentions. Much like other reports, they tend to gloss over the more controversial aspects of Rauf's statements. But, as is typical with the Ground Zero mosque imam, it can be demonstrated that he is frequently speaking with a forked tongue.
There is no doubt that Rauf has made some questionable and incendiary comments regarding America and her role in the Muslim world. Perhaps these statements fit the imam's overall rhetoric involving U.S. complicity in the attacks of 9/11. As does the following statement to the FBI, which is conveniently omitted from media reports defending Rauf.
Bridge-building imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was giving a crash course in Islam for FBI agents in March of 2003. When asked to clarify such terminology as ‘jihad' and ‘fatwa', Rauf stated (emphasis mine throughout):
"Jihad can mean holy war to extremists, but it means struggle to the average Muslim. Fatwah has been interpreted to mean a religious mandate approving violence, but is merely a recommendation by a religious leader. Rauf noted that the U.S. response to the Sept. 11 attacks could be considered a jihad, and pointed out that a renowned Islamic scholar had issued a fatwah advising Muslims in the U.S. military it was okay to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan."
With the eager help of the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and others, the liberal media have warned of and bemoaned an anti-Muslim backlash since 9-11. Unfortunately for them, the evidence never bore that out.
Now they think the wait is finally over, and they're hitting the anti-Islam hate meme with gusto. Case in point: the front page of the Washington Post's Metro section on Aug. 27. "Hostility across U.S. jars young Muslims," read the headline.
Author Tara Bahrampour focused on Muslim students at local D.C.-area colleges and their reaction to the "swelling hostility that many of these students had scarcely known was there ..."
Newly uncovered audio recorded at a forum in 2006 shows Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the Ground Zero mosque, reaffirming his belief that U.S. 'terrorism' fostered Islamic terrorism. (h/t Ace)
"There is a debate to be had about the sensitivity of building this center so close to Ground Zero. But we can not let fear and rage tear down the towers of our core American values." -- Katie Couric's Notebook, 8-23-10 [emphasis added]
Hey Norah: Katie's stealin' yer lines!
As I noted here, last week Norah O'Donnell accusedmosque opponents of acting "like the people who attacked America and killed 3,000 people."
In her "Notebook" of yesterday, Katie Couric sounded the same theme. Couric employed WTC imagery to claim that "fear and rage" [translation: animated mosque opponents] were threatening "to tear down the towers" of our core American values.
We have picked out a couple posts from each of the five categories and asked the authors to reflect back on writing them up. In this series of short videos, they share their thoughts on how they caught the particular media moment and describe the impact their post had.
File this under "Fascinating Things You Learn When Researching Other Things."
The Associated Press's infamous memo huffing and puffing about how it will henceforth describe the 13-story mosque/community center/kumbaya center that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf would like to have built on a site two blocks away from where the World Trade Center Towers once stood opened with this sentence:
We should continue to avoid the phrase "ground zero mosque" or "mosque at ground zero" on all platforms.
Obviously the publicly announced editorial decision was news, but how about the lack of uppercase letters in "Ground Zero"?
It turns out that both the AP and the New York Times routinely do not capitalize "Ground Zero," making them grammar outliers. Here was one grammarian's take on the matter in 2007 (bolded in final sentence is mine):
On Sunday’s Reliable Sources on CNN, during a discussion of the Ground Zero mosque controversy, after Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson recommended that the mosque be moved as a compromise, NPR’s Michel Martin – formerly of ABC News – compared relocating the mosque to similarly treating a Catholic church after the Oklahoma City bombing.
Even though McVeigh -- who described himself as "agnostic" despite his Catholic parents -- timed the bombing to coincide with the second anniversary of the Waco disaster to signal that he was motivated by revenge, Martin ridiculously responded: "Did anybody move a Catholic church? Did anybody move a Christian church after Timothy McVeigh – who adhered to a cultic, white supremacist cultic version of Christianity – bombed the Murrah building in Oklahoma?"
Below is a transcript of the relevant exchange from the Sunday, August 22, Reliable Sources on CNN:
On Thursday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty questioned the motives of the planners behind the proposed New York City mosque near Ground Zero: "The developer... has said the proximity of the planned mosque and center is not an issue. Really?...It's simply unrealistic to think you can build a Muslim house of worship two blocks from where this awful thing happened, and not get a negative reaction."
Cafferty raised the mosque controversy during his 5 pm Eastern hour commentary: "Sometimes no answer can be an answer. When asked if a portion of the $100 million needed to build the mosque and Islamic community center near Ground Zero here in New York City might come from either Saudi Arabia or Iran, the developers refused to comment. This only adds to the already heated controversy surrounding this project."
The CNN personality, after noting that "15 of the 19 hijackers responsible for the deaths of nearly 3,000 people, and the destruction of the World Trade Center on September the 11th, came from Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. considers Iran to be a sponsor of terrorism," applauded New York Governor David Paterson's effort to find a compromise over the planned mosque's site, labeling him "one of the few rational voices in the conversation."
CNN's American Morning and Newsroom programs on Thursday brought on Time magazine's Bobby Ghosh to highlight his "Is America Islamophobic?" article and help promote his accusation that "hate speech" and "bigotry" have "come out into the mainstream" during the course of the debate over the proposed New York City mosque near Ground Zero.
During his American Morning appearance, anchor Kiran Chetry hailed Ghosh's article, which is the cover story of the upcoming August 30th issue of Time, as "a very thoughtful piece." Anchor Ali Velshi, who conducted the second interview of the Time deputy international editor, went further than his colleague: "Okay, you're American- Time magazine is required reading....Bobby Ghosh...wrote the Islamophobia piece that I think everybody is going to have to read because if you are in this country, it's part of the dialogue that we are involved in at this point."
But only days earlier, in an August 3 Time.com article about the imam behind the mosque, Ghosh stated that the "last legal hurdle to the proposed Islamic center near the site of the World Trade Center has been removed, but ignorance, bigotry and politics are more formidable obstacles....Criticism [of the mosque] spans the gamut, from the ill-informed anguish of those who mistakenly view Islam as the malevolent force that brought down the towers to the ill-considered opportunism of right-wing politicians who see Islam as an easy target." So the "thoughtful" Time editor whose latest is "required reading" even had the gall to criticize the families and the friends of those who died on 9/11, or who are generally emotionally-touched by the carnage of the attack.
On December 8 of last year, at some point before hitting the "print" button, someone at the New York Times decided that a story about what has since become known as the Ground Zero Mosque needed to be reworked.
Earlier that day, the Times published an online powder-puff piece by reporters Ralph Blumenthal and Sharaf Mowjood about Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's GZM plans. The pair's story was revised before it went to print, and the online version was changed ("Muslim Prayers and Renewal Near Ground Zero," with a web page title bar that reads "Muslim Prayers Fuel Spiritual Rebuilding Project Near Ground Zero") to mirror it. It's even puffier.
Several bloggers posted about the pair's online original when it appeared. A few, including Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs and Ben Muessig at The Gothamist, excerpted some or all of the key paragraphs shown on the left below (bold in the third paragraph is mine). On the right is how that segment went to print on December 9 (link is to hard-to-read enlarged scan of that day's front page, where the story's opening paragraphs appeared near its bottom right), and how it currently appears online: