A few weeks ago, Fox & Friends hosted GOP candidate George Demos to talk about St. Nicholas Church, a Greek Orthodox church which was destroyed when the South Tower of the World Trade Center fell. As I noted at the time, Fox used this story as another means of attacking Park51, the Islamic community center being planned in lower Manhattan. The implication was that the government, specifically New York City's Port Authority, was fighting against the construction of this church, while fast-tracking Park51. Of course, the comparison is ridiculous. Park51 is being privately funded and is working in an area blocks away from Ground Zero, whereas St. Nicholas' Church is being constructed on Ground Zero and is working with the government to settle on terms for public funding. Park51 had to pass one landmark commission ruling, whereas St. Nicholas' Church has to deal with all of the complications involved in building at Ground Zero, including working out a new bus security center underneath the area the church is planning on rebuilding.
Despite clearly being completely different situations, the false juxtaposition was too tempting for the right-wing media to resist. Following Fox & Friends' lead, and without providing any context, Pamela Geller wrote "That iconic church remains yet to be rebuilt due to obstacles and red tape by the city. The interminable delays typify Ground Zero delays, another barren gaping hole. But not for the 15 story mega nosque. No problems there. Bloomberg is ramming this stab in the eye of every American through at breathtaking speed." She wasn't the only one to push this manufactured story. Fox Nation, Jim Hoft, Jawa Report, and Human Events also parroted Fox & Friends' attack. A search of Nexis showed many major Fox shows covering the story, such as Special Report, The O'Reilly Factor, and Hannity.
The right-wing media constantly focuses on manufactured similarities between the two buildings while downplaying the actual, demonstrable differences between the locations and the construction. The fact that the two cases aren't comparable wasn't lost on one man, however--Father Mark Arey, of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. When asked by Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy if he perceives a "double standard" between St. Nicholas and Park51, Arey noted that, there might be some "irony," but also managed to point out what nobody on the right has been willing to admit: that Park51 is not at Ground Zero. From the August 19 broadcast of Fox & Friends:
Considering how easily the rest of the right-wing media fall in line behind Fox & Friends' Park51 coverage, it's especially upsetting to see them pushing fake stories so hard. Especially considering that the quality of their coverage today included Dick Morris spouting insane things like Park51 will be used to "train and recruit Sharia law advocates who become terrorists", or Eric Bolling suggesting devious connections between Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and terror organizations based on the fact that he wrote their names on the same index card.