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Fox Adds “Persecuted Christian” Meme To Its Demagoguery Of “Ground Zero Mosque”

Reported by Ellen - August 19, 2010 -

As if it were not already demagoguing the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” (not at Ground Zero) enough, Fox News has deliberately kicked up its hate mongering another notch by suggesting that the mosque is getting governmental preference over a nearby church. But as any “fair and balanced” news network ought to report, there is no valid comparison between the two situations.

As News Hounds’ Priscilla’s postings indicate, Fox News seems to have a special nose for “persecuted Christian” stories. So it’s probably no surprise that a yet-to-be-rebuilt Greek Orthodox Church at Ground Zero got thrown into the mix by The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity shows. But the same story was spun in the same unfair, imbalanced way by Shannon Bream on what is supposed to be part of Fox News’ “objective news” lineup, America Live.

Other than being houses of worship in the same neighborhood, the church in question bears no similarities to the mosque. As Media Matters summed it up, “Park51 (the proposed Islamic cultural center which is to include the so-called Ground Zero Mosque) 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.”

But Bream somehow never got around to telling the “we report, you decide” network’s audience about those crucial distinctions when, filling in for Megyn Kelly, she hosted a discussion about this yesterday (8/18/10).

Bream introduced the segment by saying, “There was never a mosque near the World Trade Center but this tiny church was there and it was crushed when the towers came crumbling down. Nine years later, plans in the works for a massive Islamic cultural center in the shadow of Ground Zero but supporters of the church, they can’t even get their rebuilding project off the ground.”

Her only guest was the Republican candidate for Congress, George Demos, who had previously appeared on Fox & Friends to put forth the same talking points. Demos said, “We called on President Obama to show the same concern that he showed for the mosque with respect to the church.”

“It does show such a contrast,” Bream said sympathetically, though it wasn't clear if she was referring to Obama, New York City's approval process or both. She later said, in accordance with Demos, “I understand it was the only church just right nearby, right there by the (Twin) Towers and I would imagine it had an important place in the neighborhood for people who worked and lived there every day.”

Demos explicitly added the “mosques-get-preferential-treatment” rhetoric by saying he had a petition at his website (which would surely have fundraising opportunties) where “we’re getting thousands of Americans across this country to stand up and say it’s time that our government officials respect our Judeo-Christian heritage and actually stand up for the church that was destroyed. There’s nothing else that we should be doing that’s more important at Ground Zero.”

Rather than offer any independent investigation (or even do a simple Google search), Bream asked the obviously-partisan Demos if there was any “logical explanation” for the delay. After Demos blamed the Port Authority, Bream blamed them for her lack of reporting. “We would love to hear from them. We welcome them and their response any time on this project. We’d love to know more about St. Nicholas and efforts to get it rebuilt.”

Excuse me, Ms. Bream. But isn’t it YOUR job to uncover the facts and help the audience “know more” about this issue?

You can contact the show at Kelly@foxnews.com.

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