Salon has a good rundown of how the hysteria over the community center in NY started. In a nutshell, Pam Gellar and Rupert Murdoch:
Here’s a timeline of how it all happened:
– Dec. 8, 2009: The Times publishes a lengthy front-page look at the Cordoba project. “We want to push back against the extremists,” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the lead organizer, is quoted as saying. Two Jewish leaders and two city officials, including the mayor’s office, say they support the idea, as does the mother of a man killed on 9/11. An FBI spokesman says the imam has worked with the bureau. Besides a few third-tier right-wing blogs, including Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs site, no one much notices the Times story.
– Dec. 21, 2009: Conservative media personality Laura Ingraham interviews Abdul Rauf’s wife, Daisy Khan, while guest-hosting “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox. In hindsight, the segment is remarkable for its cordiality. “I can’t find many people who really have a problem with it,” Ingraham says of the Cordoba project, adding at the end of the interview, “I like what you’re trying to do.”
– (This segment also includes onscreen the first use that we’ve seen of the misnomer “ground zero mosque.”) After the segment — and despite the front-page Times story — there were no news articles on the mosque for five and a half months, according to a search of the Nexis newspaper archive.
– May 6, 2010: After a unanimous vote by a New York City community board committee to approve the project, the AP runs a story. It quotes relatives of 9/11 victims (called by the reporter), who offer differing opinions. The New York Post, meanwhile, runs a story under the inaccurate headline, “Panel Approves ‘WTC’ Mosque.” Geller is less subtle, titling her post that day, “Monster Mosque Pushes Ahead in Shadow of World Trade Center Islamic Death and Destruction.” She writes on her Atlas Shrugs blog, “This is Islamic domination and expansionism. The location is no accident. Just as Al-Aqsa was built on top of the Temple in Jerusalem.” (To get an idea of where Geller is coming from, she once suggested that Malcolm X was Obama’s real father. Seriously.)
Basically, as with everything else with the modern GOP, fringe lunatics gin up a story, Murdoch pimps it, and then the rest of the Wurlitzer takes over. Loudmouth radio announcers, shameless politicians, wingnut bloggers, and unhinged lunatics unite to create a controversy out of nowhere.
This is why I simply have no respect for anyone who remains with the GOP. Period. This is the modern Republican party in a nutshell, whether it be death panels, the MONSTER MOSQUE, terror babies, or Obama’s birth certificate. The crazy people are running the show, and folks who remain in the GOP but tepidly speak out against it aid and abet the lunacy. We should stop using the phrase “reasonable Republican” and “sane conservatives” and call them what they really are- accomplices. It’s Malkin and Gellar and Louis Gohmert and Palin and Bachmann’s party now, and they’re just providing them cover.