Every so often an issue arises that seems tailor-made to give liberals an excuse to parade their supposed moral virtues while denigrating the poor benighted rednecks, bigots and ignoramuses foolish enough to disagree with the received wisdom of The New York Times editorial page.
The proposed mosque near Ground Zero is one such case, and, predictably enough, virtuecrats like Michael Bloomberg have seized on it with a vengeance. Media liberals have been even worse than the politicians, going out of their way to signal disdain for anyone who raises even the slightest doubt about the wisdom of the plan.
The Media Research Center has documented the most outrageous examples of how the liberal media are trying to drive this issue. Here are just a few:
● “One of the finest moments of his presidency. Obama didn’t just stand up for the legal right of the group to build the Islamic center. He voiced powerful support for their moral right to do so as well, casting it as central to American identity…. Obama directly confronted the demagoguery at the core of much of the opposition to this project…. Ultimately, though, Obama’s speech transcends the politics of the moment, and will go down as a defining and perhaps even a breakthrough performance.”
- Washington Post “Plum Line” blogger Greg Sargent in an August 14 posting.
● “When do we stop praising politicians for doing what is right just because it’s not politically expedient? I thought the reason everybody’s groaning all the time about our politicians is because they’re such hacks and nobody stands up for what’s right. Who cares about the concrete? Somebody’s got to say that, you know, we’re not going to act like the people who stole freedom from Americans, the people who attacked America and killed 3,000 people.”
- NBC correspondent Norah O’Donnell on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” August 17.
● “Despite all the high-minded words about ‘sensitivity’ for the families of the victims, this is slimeball politics, pure and simple, except for when it descends into outright religious bigotry – which seems to be what happens every time Newt Gingrich opens his mouth. Does that demented, anger-infused doofus actually believe that putting the mosque near Ground Zero is the equivalent of putting a swastika next to the Holocaust Museum? I mean, what a jerk.”
- Time’s Joe Klein writing on the magazine’s “Swampland” blog, August 16.
● MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle: “Look, Mika, we’ve descended to one of the lowest points in our politics over the past five, ten years. Newt Gingrich is nothing more than a political pyromaniac here. He is just putting gasoline on fires that don’t even exist….”
Co-host Mika Brzezinski: “That’s a great term…. That is such a great term.”
- MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” August 16.
● “The last legal hurdle to the proposed Islamic center near the site of the World Trade Center has been removed, but ignorance, bigotry and politics are more formidable obstacles…. Criticism spans the gamut, from the ill-informed anguish of those who mistakenly view Islam as the malevolent force that brought down the towers to the ill-considered opportunism of right-wing politicians who see Islam as an easy target.”
- Time’s Bobby Ghosh in an August 3 web posting, a shorter version of which appeared in the magazine’s August 16 issue.
● “The proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero created a convenient rallying point for those who instead want to foment hatred, according to national Islamic leaders and academics who study Islam….Which is why it is reprehensible for people claiming national leadership to stir the pot.”
- From a USA Today editorial, August 16.
● “Finally, tonight, as promised, a ‘Special Comment’ on the inaccurately described Ground Zero mosque. ‘They came first for the communists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. And then they came for me and by that time, no one was left to speak up.’ Pastor Martin Niemoller’s words are well known…. In quoting him, I make no direct comparison between the attempts to suppress the building of a Muslim religious center in downtown Manhattan and the unimaginable nightmare of the Holocaust. Such a comparison is ludicrous – at least, it is now.”
- MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann delivering a “Special Comment” on Countdown, August 16.
Jason Maoz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.