On Friday, we pointed to a story buried deep in the New York Times, in the Religion section, about a mosque in the World Trade Center, where, as likely as not, Muslims were praying on Sept. 11, 2001, the day the madmen jet-bombed the buildings.
There was also an area set aside for prayer on the stairwell on the 106th and 107th floors of the North Tower that was used by workers in the tourist restaurant on the top floor.
In the story on Friday, I suggested that the fact that there was a mosque inside Ground Zero should make it harder for Republicans to complain that building an Islamic community center two blocks north of the old WTC Plaza somehow defiled the memories of the other people killed there that day — but I also predicted it wouldn’t stop them, because what the GOP is up to here is not about mosques or Muslims it’s about getting out the vote among their tea bagger base.
Remember that in 2005, Glenn Beck — who is now a vocal opponent of Park 51, supposedly because it would be offensive to 9/11 victims’ families — said, “[You] know it took me about a year to start hating the 9-11 victims’ families? Took me about a year.”
Talk about offensive!
In the past five years, nothing has happened that would cause Beck to hate the 9/11 families any less. The difference is, he, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, in particular, are attacking Park 51 for political reasons — to inflame anti-Islamic bigotry among GOP-tea party voters who, not coincidentally, are the viewer base of their employer, GOP-Fox television.
What we have also seen since this story first appeared, buried deep in the New York Times, is that the corporate media is ignoring it. Why? Because discussing the presence of a mosque and prayer center inside the now-hallowed ground (upon which four giant non-hallowed office buildings are being constructed at this moment) would disrupt two narrative threads in Beltway conventional wisdom that are so easy to discuss the reporters and pundits could do it from home:
Thread 1: A “mosque” is being built near Ground Zero, and people who don’t know the facts about it don’t like. And thread 2: Even though Republicans are even less popular than Democrats in the polls, Republicans are ascendant and will ride the wave of tea baggery — a movement supported by just 12 percent of voters — to take control of Congress in the fall. (And, not for nothing, coverage of the horse race between now and then will help ratings.)
Facts be damned. Changing the narratives would be, you know, hard. Also, at this point, three months into the “Ground Zero mosque” controversy, revealing that there was a Muslim religious presence in the World Trade Center before the attack now would underscore how lazy and worthless these overpaid reporters are.
Last night, Keith Olbermann named the media as “Worst Persons in the World” for failing to do basic reporting on Muslim religious activity in the World Trade Center when the “Ground Zero” mosque controversy arose. So far, this morning — it’s nearly 6 a.m. Pacific as I write this — the World Trade Center mosque has not been mentioned on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” or MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Only time will tell, if the WTC mosque makes breaks through the media narrative. Early line: Don’t hold your breath.