Jason Linkins at The Huffington Post wrote this piece several days ago, 'Quran Burning Story: This Is How The Media Embarrass Themselves'. It's must reading about how the media handled the stories of Terry Jones, the Quran-burning minister, and the 'Ground Zero mosque'.
About the mosque, Linkins says:
Right away, they [the media] accepted the premise that this was a "Ground Zero mosque," when it wasn't. And so, by the power vested in the media, things that weren't in fact true were accorded the privilege of being "one side of a great debate" and "an interesting point of view."
Regarding the 'Ground Zero mosque,' Linkins has a snippet from an article by Charlie Brooker (photo by Michael Nagle is is from Brooker's article). Brooker 'calls out the media for this bullshit':
New York being a densely populated city, there are lots of other buildings and businesses within two blocks of Ground Zero, including a McDonald's and a Burger King, neither of which has yet been accused of serving milkshakes and fries on hallowed ground. Regardless, for the opponents of Cordoba House, two blocks is too close, period. Frustratingly, they haven't produced a map pinpointing precisely how close is OK.
That's literally all I'd ask them in an interview. I'd stand there pointing at a map of the city. Would it be offensive here? What about here? Or how about way over there? And when they finally picked a suitable spot, I'd ask them to draw it on the map, sketching out roughly how big it should be, and how many windows it's allowed to have. Then I'd hand them a colour swatch and ask them to decide on a colour for the lobby carpet. And the conversation would continue in this vein until everyone in the room was in tears. Myself included.
That hasn't happened. Instead, 70% of Americans are opposed to the "Ground Zero mosque", doubtless in many cases because they've been led to believe it literally is a mosque at Ground Zero. And if not...well, it must be something significant. Otherwise why would all these pundits be so angry about it? And why would anyone in the media listen to them with a straight face?
Yep, they blew it.
Thanks to Gary Whitton for alerting me to Linkins' post.
"There were many, many moments where someone could have simply said, "No, we should really not be doing this. These Islamophobes are objectively wrong, objectively stupid, objectively contradictory, objectively harmful, and by God, as someone with a functioning brain and a devotion to the pursuit of reason above all else, I am going to stand here and say no to all of this." But as it turns out, it wasn't until yesterday afternoon that someone finally had the guts to say maybe we cannot really believe a word this man is saying." -- Jason Linkins, from his post