The Associated Press cracked the whip the other day, issuing a strict and specific set of guidelines, approved terminology, and “facts” to be used in its coverage of the Ground Zero mosque.
The AP’s agenda is clear, and its policy statement amounts to a resolution to agitate in favor of the mosque and dismiss criticism and concerns about it out of hand.
It is an open and unapologetic statement of journalistic bias.
As Frank Gaffney says in what will be a handy companion to future AP reporting on the mosque, it amounts to a “Muslim Brotherhood narrative about the Islamic cultural center formerly known as the ‘Ground Zero mosque’.” A thorough deconstruction of AP’s pravda, er, “truth,” about the project is indeed in order. “Fact-Checking the AP ‘Fact Check’ On the Ground Zero Mosque,” by Frank Gaffney for Big Journalism, August 20:
Stop the presses! This just in: The Associated Press “standards center” has issued a “staff advisory” on covering what is to be known from here on out as “the New York City mosque.” From now on, the AP “staff” – and, therefore, everybody who still actually reads newspapers that still actually use the wire service’s copy – is supposed to conform to what amounts to the Muslim Brotherhood narrative about the Islamic cultural center formerly known as the “Ground Zero mosque.”
AP’s Deputy Managing Editor for Standards and Production, Tom Kent, sent this “guidance” out to his colleagues, with inputs from Chad Roedemeier in the New York bureau and Terry Hunt in Washington: “We should continue to avoid the phrase ‘Ground Zero mosque’ or ‘mosque at Ground Zero’ on all platforms. (We’ve very rarely used this wording, except in slugs, though we sometimes see other news sources using the term.) The site of the proposed Islamic center and mosque is not at Ground Zero, but two blocks away in a busy commercial area. We should continue to say it’s “near” Ground Zero, or two blocks away.”
It was hit by landing gear from one of the hijacked planes. It was damaged by the instrument and the act of the attack, and is thus clearly part of the site of the attack. More on that here. As Gaffney observes, even Rauf seemed to grasp that:
Interestingly, among those who formerly used the now-proscribed descriptor “Ground Zero mosque” is none other than Feisal Abdul Rauf, its imam and chief promoter. He called it that even though the proposed venue has always been two blocks away from the World Trade Center site.
Perhaps Rauf used this moniker because his planned location for the mosque was part of the real estate attacked and damaged on 9/11 – the home of the Burlington Coat Factory until it was struck by a landing gear from a plane that struck one of the Twin Towers. Perhaps he used that term to brand his “Cordoba House” because body parts from the victims of those attacks have been found all over Lower Manhattan, including the old Burlington factory area, making it part of the hallowed ground.
Or perhaps, Imam Rauf called his project the Ground Zero mosque because he wanted to associate his 15-story, $100 million complex as closely as possible to the location where nearly 3,000 Americans and other innocent people – precisely because they were murdered there by people who wanted, as he does, to “bring shariah to America.”
The last explanation would certainly conform to the triumphalist past practice of adherents to shariah, the barbaric, totalitarian political program that masquerades as a religion. Indeed, there is a tradition of constructing mosques at the site of previous Islamic conquests for example in Jerusalem, Istanbul and Cordoba, Spain. Yes, it was for Cordoba – where a Catholic church was converted into the world’s third largest mosque by the Moorish conquerors of Spain – that Rauf wanted initially to name his Ground Zero mosque.
We can’t get a clarification from Imam Rauf about precisely why he wanted to call his complex the Ground Zero mosque. He seems to be incommunicado as he is, just now, on an extended overseas stay, including stops in Malaysia and a U.S. taxpayer-underwritten trip to Middle East capitals. This foray could not be more convenient as the imam seeks to raise the nine-figure sum required to build his facility now being repackaged as simply an address: “Park 51.”
In his absence, it has mostly fallen to Muslim Brotherhood operatives associated with fronts like the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Muslim American Society to tout the mosque. And all they want to do is get others – especially in the media and government – to drive home themes like those presented as “facts” by the Associated Press.
The Brotherhood has already succeeded brilliantly at this in the past. For example, the “guidelines” adopted in October 2001 by the Society of Professional Journalists explicitly call for its members to use spellings “preferred by the American Muslim Council, including ‘Muhammad,’ ‘Quran,’ and ‘Makkah,’ not ‘Mecca’ – at a time when the AMC was one of the most prominent Brotherhood fronts in the United States. […]
It behooves us, therefore, to do a fact check on AP’s “fact check”:
AP: “A New York imam and his proposed mosque near ground zero are being demonized by political candidates — mostly Republicans — despite the fact that Islam is already very much a part of the World Trade Center neighborhood. And that Muslims pray inside the Pentagon, too, less than 80 feet from where terrorists attacked.”
Before we get to Gaffney’s response, there is one apparent difference at the Pentagon: That chapel is described as a space for all faiths, sounding rather like an airport chapel where, essentially, if you need a quiet place to pray to whomever it is you pray to, here’s where you go. There are Bibles, and even a font for holy water, and there are reportedly Jewish and Hindu services, with Buddhist services possibly in the works as well. In other words, it is not a triumphalist Islamic structure intended to 1.) throw down a gauntlet on whether 9/11 had something to do with Islam, and 2.) force the national discussion on Islam into concluding it didn’t, with dissenters branded as paranoid, unwashed bigots.
THE FACTS: “Demonized” is a loaded term that denigrates the criticism Republicans and a growing number of Democrats – including Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader – have properly made of the site of the Ground Zero Mosque and, in some cases, of its Imam. The issue is not whether Muslims pray in proximity to Ground Zero – or the Pentagon’s equally hallowed ground. Rather, it is whether they and the facility in which they pray are dedicated to the promotion of the seditious, anti-constitutional program of Shariah. If so, it is a problem. If not, not….
There is so much more. Read it all.