Tuesday, August 24, 2010


So, how is he such a radical now? What explains the sudden turnaround? What explains the fact that people who have had dealings in the past with this specific person, with the imam behind the proposed Islamic center in downtown Manhattan and know him to be a moderate and who have said so out loud—what explains why they suddenly have decided that the man is so dangerous?

The difference is that now, this moderate imam‘s community center has been declared this month‘s new “scare white people” story. So, the truth about the imam doesn‘t matter anymore. The truth about the cultural center that they want to build downtown doesn‘t matter anymore. It‘s time to scare white people for political profit.

And this formula should be pretty familiar by now. We‘ve been through episodes of “scare white people” game recently. That was—one about Van Jones who was smeared on FOX News as a violent convicted felon. Of course, that wasn‘t true, but he still lost his job as a White House environmental adviser. Be afraid—be afraid of policy wonk, dorky guy Van Jones.

Of course, there was also ACORN, a mostly minority community-based organization attacked as a group of criminal thugs based largely on cooked-up deceptively edited videotapes created by right wing activists. Be afraid—be afraid of the minority community-organizing group made up of poor people.

Now, there was the completely ginned up New Black Panthers episode. White people, be afraid of two whacked out guys who braid their beard hair and hung out outside a polling station on Election Day a year and a half ago. We dug up the old tape so you can be afraid.

And, also, don‘t forget Shirley Sherrod, who, thanks to again to video-editing designed to be misleading, was portrayed as a racist Obama administration official—racist in that she was out to make sure white people didn‘t get any help from the Department of Agriculture. White people, be afraid—be afraid of Shirley Sherrod.

After all of these other very recent chapters in the scare white people political playbook: “A,” we should have been ready for it, but, “B,” it‘s quite clear that it‘s time for a new one. So, the Ground Zero mosque controversy was born.

What‘s worth noting about all of these different “scare white people” stories is that they‘re not really actual news stories. I mean, no real news organizations started running with this story as actual news. The best “scare white people” stories are invented out of whole cloth, from inside the media world, so they can be just the right kind of scary in just the right kind of way in order to drive just the right political consequence.

So, ultimately, if the conservative media drives this to make it big enough, then normal news organizations pick it up, too, sometimes because they‘re gilded (ph) into it by conservatives. But no non-FOX, non-conservative media outlet ever starts these things.


Hags said...

Terry, you had a very good point that I am afraid you diluted substantially by lumping Imam Rauf in with some bona fide losers. Citing Van Johnson, Acorn and the New Black panthers does not strengthen your position.

But I digress. I attach the following link:


Apparently Imam Rauf was invited to speak at the memorial service for Daniel Pearl, the reporter who was beheaded for all the world to see by Al-Qaida. Now I was not there for the service, but I expect that the emotions of Mr. Pearl's family were every bit as shattered and raw as the 9/11 victims' families were and are. So, at least they thought the Imam was a decent sort, and apparently he made a moving speech and actually put himself at risk by saying "I am a Jew" as a statement of solidarity against the horrendous act of violence committed against Mr. Pearl.

So I think a "Fair and Balanced " report should include those credentials that speak very well for Imam Rauf.

I'm going to guess he is a good guy. That said, he has made some terrible errors in his approach to this project. Given his experiences around the world I cannot believe that he overlooked the possibility that there could be considerable negative emotional response to his plans. Given his bridge building skills he must have known he had to start with the 9/11 based organizations that support different families and victims groups.

He has to say who is going to fund the project. It can't be Iran, it can't be Syria, and if it is going to be Saudi money then those Saudis will need to come forward and participate in the bridge building work.

We do need to reach across and understand each other, and there are many divides that matter, not just Islam Vs. Christian and Jews.

Too bad the Imam didn't take the right path. This project is DOA.

All the best!


Baxter said...

Welcome back, Hags!

I keep hearing this project is DOA, yet I believe it has passed NYC's entitlement requirements. What can stand in it's way?

I, of course, acknowledge their right to build wherever they want to. I do not paint Islam with a broad brush that would include Al-Queda. I also believe in property rights.

I think that the opposition is largely race/religion baiting by our friends at Fox News. They make it all the more difficult for the West to win the hearts and minds of the Middle East. I doubt they will win any more GOP votes in November than are already on board.

I thought the Mosque developers missed a wonderful opportunity when Paterson offered t o swap NY state land with them in NYC. They could have obtained a superior site, had the taxpayers throw in some cash, and take the perceived high road at the expense of the hate mongers.

Apparently, it is now a matter of principle. To that end, I hope they build the mosque and it stands proudly as a symbol of American tolerance and pluralism.

Hags said...

If we are going to pass out blame for the low quality of the debate and name Fox, et. al., would it be OK to count Obama for waffling the morning after, and would it be OK to count Harry Reid, too.

The problem associated with this mosque debate is not limited to Fox, nor is it limited to so-called conservative commentators. Weasels come in all political stripes.

I think that genuine and understandable emotions are being played by cowards on all sides in an attempt to further their political interests. There should be a resolution possible through the dialog of people of good will, and I hope that will happen and believe it can happen if we could get the politics and politicians to step aside. It will take time, but I think it will happen.

If you think this project is going forward how about explaining where the Imam is going to find $100 million in funding with the sources a matter of public record.

All the best,


Baxter said...

Hags ~

I do not count Obama as waffling. He expanded his comments, much as I would have. If BHO or I had planned the site, it probably would have been somewhere that would not have ignited FNC et al (if such a thing is possible these days). Alas, it isn't our property - it is Rauf's group and they get to make the decision. They met the objective criteria of NYC and received unanimous approval of the relevant board. The Mosque has the benefit of the first amendment, rule of law and property rights. The opponents have raw emotion and thats it. Objectively, it is not a close call.

Harry Reid is scared to death and wished the topic never came up. His position was not principled - it was political. Cowardly? Yes. Understandable? Again, yes.

I don't think the Mosque needs to tell anyone where the money came from. It's none of our business. Do the Catholics have to list their donors when they build a church?

Jim G. said...

I am not comfortable with anyone having to "explain" the funding of their church, however, I am even less confortable with the Speaker of the House wanting to investigate those in opposition.

this is not a Fox news issue, the families of 911 are not Fox news viewers.

Terry, so you don't want us to call Obama a Socialist, you won't let us look at his consistent associations, you won't let us discuss his policies of redistribution.

Terry, there is an upcoming election and there is going to be a lot of "dicussing" going on.