Right-Wing Media Use 9-11 Anniversary To Gin Up Park 51 Outrage

After spending so much time attacking the planned Park 51 community center last year, it's not surprising that the right-wing media have found an excuse to bring Park 51 back into headlines now, as the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks approaches.

On August 24, Fox Nation posted a link to a Wall Street Journal article about the ceremony in New York that will commemorate the 10th anniversary with the headline:


The Wall Street Journal article to which Fox Nation linked did not mention the “Ground Zero Mosque” -- which, in fact, is not a mosque, but an Islamic community center, and would not be built at ground zero, but nearby.

It wasn't long before blogger Jim Hoft picked up Fox Nation's attack with a post titled, “Bloomberg Bans Clergy from 9-11 Ceremony -- Pushes Ground Zero Mosque.” Beneath a picture of the planes striking the Twin Towers on 9-11, Hoft linked to the Fox Nation post and wrote: “Unbelievable. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned clergy from the ceremony commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks. ... Bloomberg also spoke out in support of the Ground Zero Mosque.”

And today, Fox News picked up the attack on Fox & Friends. Co-host Steve Doocy interviewed pastor Fernando Cabrera, who is also a member of the New York City Council, about why clergy have not been invited to the 9-11 memorial ceremony:

DOOCY: Meanwhile, religion has no place at ground zero. That's because New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is banning the clergy from the September 11th, 10th anniversary ceremony. This comes as a surprise, especially since he recently defended plans to build that mosque near ground zero. Fernando Cabrera is a New York City council member and a pastor at New Life Outreach International, joins us live today. So the mayor says he doesn't want any religious leaders at the 9-11 memorial.

CABRERA: I think that's a mistake. Not only the fact that religious leaders were one of the first ones to be at ground zero when the 9-11 terror took place -- the very first person that was taken out of the rubble, as many people remember, was a chaplain.


DOOCY: And so what the -- the mayor has not invited any spiritual leaders at all, and there will be no prayer, extraordinarily, at the event.

CABRERA: That's shocking. Prayer is what gave us strength, will continue to give us strength, and to help bring comfort out of the pain. To give purpose, to find meaning out of this tragic event. And to remove that, I think, is a tragic mistake.

DOOCY: We've gotten a statement from the mayor's office, and here's how it reads, pastor. It says, “Religious leaders or others are free to hold such an event, the focus of this commemoration ceremony is on the family members of those who died.” You know, I haven't taken a poll of the audience, but I would imagine most of the people who lost somebody on September the 11th would be comforted by some words of prayer.


DOOCY: And the mayor over the last couple of years has had no problems with them building that mosque, what, 600 feet from ground zero?

CABRERA: Indeed. And so let's be consistent.

None of these segments mentioned, however, that clergy have regularly not participated in 9-11 memorial services held by the city. As The Wall Street Journal article explained:

Religious leaders are calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reverse course and offer clergy a role in the ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.


City Hall officials, who are coordinating the ceremony, confirmed that spiritual leaders will not participate this year -- just as has been the case during past events marking the anniversary. The mayor has said he wants the upcoming event to strike a similar tone as previous ceremonies.

“There are hundreds of important people that have offered to participate over the last nine years, but the focus remains on the families of the thousands who died on Sept. 11,” said Evelyn Erskine, a mayoral spokeswoman.

So this isn't new -- it's just the continuation of the same policy. And it's completely unrelated to whether or not Park 51 should be built in lower Manhattan. Right-wing media are only connecting the issues so that they can fearmonger over the “Ground Zero mosque” again, just like they did last fall.