Fox & Friends this morning hosted GOP candidate George Demos to further their seemingly never-ending, biased coverage of the Islamic Community Center and mosque set to be built a few blocks away from the site of the World Trade Center attacks. Today they found a new angle on the subject. While continuing their baseless fearmongering that the project is being funded by “terrorist groups,” they attempted to draw a false comparison between support for the community center and delays in the construction of a small Greek Orthodox church, St. Nicholas' Church, suggesting that the government is favoring a mosque over a church:
There are a few problems with their attempt to compare the two situations. First, despite trying to push the phrase “Ground Zero mosque” at every opportunity, the community center is being built blocks away. St. Nicholas' church, on the other hand, is actually being built at Ground Zero:
The issue here is more than just semantics. Because it's being built directly next to Ground Zero, the church is subject to all the complications, and delays involved in construction at the site. According to a New York Times article,
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency overseeing reconstruction, has not finalized the exchange of land needed to provide the congregation with a new home near ground zero. Until that deal is completed, the authority cannot proceed with building the southern foundation wall for the entire site, and cannot draw up designs for a bomb screening center for buses and trucks that would go under the new church. And because security is crucial, delays in the vehicle security center mean delays in other parts of the site.
Failing to note this important aspect of the story would be bad enough, but host Peter Johnson Jr. and Demos went further, falsely claiming that government officials were intentionally delaying the construction of the church. Johnson Jr. said “our own government [is] now accused of putting road blocks in the path of its own citizens trying to rebuild that church,” and Demos suggested the Port Authority is blocking the project, saying they “originally agreed to have them swapped to have a bigger piece of land and abruptly reneged on their deal a year ago and refused to meet with the Greek Orthodox Church.” Of course, this isn't true, as the New York Times explains, “Both St. Nicholas and the Port Authority are eager to resolve the issues quickly, especially since the authority plans to pick a contractor to build the southern perimeter wall for the entire site this summer, and it needs title to the church's property to proceed.”
But those of you following Fox's treatment of this story will not be surprised to learn that they went further, seamlessly turning this into the latest manufactured attack on Christianity. Demos claimed “Our Christian values are under attack in this country and we have a church that's not being rebuilt and our government should be doing everything it can to make sure we rebuild this,” and Johnson asked Demos if he thought “the Port Authority is attacking Judeo-Christian values in not allowing them to go forward.”
It is becoming more and more apparent that not only can GOP candidates reliably push their talking points on Fox without challenge, but anyone espousing anti-Muslim sentiment can be assured of a comfortable setting to manufacture outrage without accurately representing the facts.