Why is Fox pushing a falsehood to fuel outrage over NYC Muslim community center?

Following right-wing media who pushed the claim without providing evidence, Fox News falsely reported that the Muslim community center and mosque set to be built near Ground Zero will open on the anniversary of 9-11. However, Daisy Khan, executive director of one of the organizations leading the project, told Media Matters that the allegation is “absolutely false” and that “the timeline has yet to be determined.”

Fox follows right-wing blogs' baseless claim that Muslim center “plan[s] to launch” on anniversary of 9-11

Camerota falsely claims Muslim community center “plan[ning] to launch” on “9-11.”On the July 19 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Alisyn Camerota said of Park 51, a Muslim community center and mosque set to be built two blocks from the World Trade Center site: “It's not just the location, by the way, that has people outraged ... some of the dates that the mosque plans to celebrate, even the opening dates, so there's a lot here.” When co-host Brian Kilmeade asked her, “You mean 9-11?” Camerota replied, “9-11, that is when they plan to launch, yeah.”

Geller: Center's “stated opening date” is “September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of the terror attacks.” In a July 13 Human Events post, Pamela Geller wrote:

New York officials are violating protocol to build a mega mosque at Ground Zero. They are ramming it through in warped speed, removing every obstacle to expedite the process in order to meet its stated opening date of September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of the terror attacks.

On Tuesday, the Landmarks Commission is expected to deny landmark status for 45 Park Place, the site for the proposed mosque.

Why the hurry? So that the mosque can open on the tenth anniversary of September 11, as promised? Would they do this for a church? A synagogue? This is an outrage.

Big Government: Imam “wants to unveil [the project] to the world on September 11, 2011.” In a May 20 Big Government post, blogger Brigitte Gabriel wrote: “Less than nine years after the worst terrorist attack on American soil in our history, an imam who blames America for the 9/11 attack wants to construct a 13 story, $100 million dollar mosque and Islamic center 600 feet from 'Ground Zero.' And he wants to unveil it to the world on September 11, 2011 -- the ten year anniversary of the greatest jihadist atrocity ever perpetrated against America on its own soil.”

Andrea Peyser: “The opening date shall live in infamy.” In a May 13 New York Post column, Andrea Peyser stated of Park 51, formerly called the Cordoba House: “The opening date shall live in infamy: Sept. 11, 2011. The 10th anniversary of the day a hole was punched in the city's heart.”

Project's executive director called the allegation “absolutely false.” In a conversation with Media Matters, Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, one of the organizations spearheading the project, called the allegation “absolutely false.” Khan also said, in a statement:

We are in the preliminary planning stages of the center and the timeline has yet to be determined..

We do agree with Ms. Palin and others that it is time to heal from the wounds of the tragic events of 9/11. We peace- loving Muslims have a responsibility to lead the effort of rebuilding Lower Manhattan. We envision a community center for multi-faith collaboration that is focused on promoting integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion.