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O’Reilly Admits That Ground Zero Imam’s Association With A Truther Means Nothing

Reported by Ellen - September 15, 2010 -

One day after Bill O’Reilly acted as though he had uncovered earth-shakingly incriminating information – that the so-called “ground zero imam” has a truther associate – O’Reilly admitted, perhaps inadvertently, that it meant nothing.

The guest for the segment last night (9/14/10) was Hussein Ibish, of the American Task Force on Palestine. Ibish is clearly no Fox News stooge. So it was interesting to hear him speak critically of the imam and his backers, especially as to how he handled the media. Ibish said – probably rightly so – that allowing bloggers to define the issue as a “ground zero mosque controversy” is what sank the project.

However, I wished Ibish had more forthrightly challenged the obvious anti-Islamic agenda and blatant hate mongering that Fox News has spuriously engaged in. I nearly choked when O’Reilly said, “We don’t want to bring any ill will into any neighborhood in the United States.” Considering how much ill will O’Reilly and his substitute host, Laura Ingraham, have already demonstrated toward the project – and with a particularly anti-Islamic edge – I don’t think he should have been allowed to get away with such self-serving disingenuousness. But Ibish accepted O’Reilly’s “good will” without comment. Even when O’Reilly later said about the so-called mosque, “nobody knows what that thing (my emphasis) is there for,” Ibish did not question the obvious scorn.

Ibish was far more critical of the imam, saying, “Most of what he does is for the greater glory of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.” Ibish described Rauf as “sort of egotistical” and said he wants to use the Islamic cultural center as “another platform to pursue interfaith stuff and promote himself.”

Toward the end of the segment, O’Reilly asked Ibish about Rauf’s “truther” associate. Ibish said, “(Associating with a truther) doesn’t tell us much about, it doesn’t tell us anything, really about Rauf and what he thinks and it doesn’t tell us anything at all about the project and whether it’s a good idea.”

O’Reilly, interrupting, agreed! He said, “No, no, but it just makes it more, it makes it more unacceptable.”

“It piles on the suspicion,” Ibish said.

“Right,” O’Reilly agreed again. “It piles on. Enough.”

In other words, O’Reilly acknowledged that palling around with a truther may look bad but it means absolutely nothing. This despite the fact that one day earlier, O’Reilly announced gravely that “evidence shows” fears “may now be valid” the ground zero mosque has “radical ties.” “Where is the next dot?” O’Reilly had asked accusingly, assuming it was a matter of where, not if.

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