The Manufacture Of A Controversy

Allow me to point you Readers to an article at Slate Salon chronicling the evolution of the “Mosque right on top of two blocks from Ground Zero” controversy.  From its inception until less than four months ago, Cordoba House project was an interesting topic, non-controversial and accepted by the conservative punditocracy, until Pamela Geller and the New York Post ran stories with inflammatory headlines on May 6, 2010.  Particularly interesting is an interview in December of 2009 with Laura Ingraham:

I have to join Doug Mataconis in calling this a manufactured controversy, and a wildly successful one at that — one which has trapped even the President in a political volte-face, despite the intellectual tenability of his position, and sparked false rumors, bought by formerly credible news sources, that the backers of the project have decided to move it elsewhere in the city.

If they could have been persuaded to relocate their project, well, that would be their decision and a victory for real dialogue.  Dialogue, however, is not what this sort of thing is about.  We are in the world of demagoguery, and the point of this issue is to make as much noise as possible.  Changing anything isn’t the point, attracting eyes and ears is.

American citizens should be able to do what they like with their own property as long as they comply with pre-existing laws.  Period.  These people have complied with the law and should be able to build whatever they want on land they own.  Americans mostly recognize this, as Nate Silver points out:

Essentially, public opinion on this issue is divided into thirds. About a third of the country thinks that not only do the developers have a right to build the mosque, but that it’s a perfectly appropriate thing to do. Another third think that while the development is in poor taste, the developers nevertheless have a right to build it. And the final third think that not only is the development inappropriate, but the developers have no right to build it — perhaps they think that the government should intervene to stop it in some fashion.

Alas, we come up against the poverty of language when phrases like “should a mosque be built here” are used.  But let us not forget how the “middle” position came to exist — at the hands of a small number of people, hungry to attract eyeballs, who decided to attack something that up until then had been non-controversial, an attack based on half-truths, xenophobia, and intentional ignorance of factual nuance — one which turns a law-abiding American who cooperates with law enforcement officials and whose intent by all objective appearance is to guide his co-religionists down a meaningful path of peace into a fanatic Islamist sleeper agent and triumphalist intent on helping overthrow our government.  What we have really learned from all is is that Pamela Geller has better Kung Fu than Laura Ingraham — and we have learned, once again, that fear is more powerful than love.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


  1. Sigh.I don't know which to go after: your naivete, or your misrepresentations.I pointed out previously to you the history of Islam in planting mosques on the sites of their crimes/victories.The documentation of the Mosque's ties to terrorist groups are strong, and getting stronger by the day. The connection of the Mosque's leader to terrorist groups is just as strong. His refusal to condemn Hamas as a terrorist group is unsurprising given his Muslim Brotherhood funding ties, just as it's unsurprising that Hamas last night announced their complete endorsement of the project as a victory for Islam and their barbaric Shari'a law.Also, the "Mosque right on top of two blocks from Ground Zero", as you call it, is an interesting case. Airplane parts and body parts of the victims of Islam landed on the building that day. It is involved in the site and events – perhaps not as much as the Twin Towers and other WTC complex buildings themselves, but still involved.As for your claim that it's a "manufactured controversy" – I beg to differ. The only thing "manufactured" about it is the fact that the left-wing media cartels were dragged, kicking and screaming, into actually noticing that yes, a large number of people have a problem with building a Mosque in that place, find it insensitive and wrong, and are waking up to the larger problem that Islam is not a classical "religion" but rather a religiopolitical supremacist group.

  2. Also – your article isn't Slate, it's Salon. Neither of them really helps your case, though, since neither is anything but a quack-wackery website these days.

  3. Left wing media, like Laura Ingarham on Fox? And I've said before that I don't give a damn what Hamas or some other dirtbag thinks. I'm at a loss to understand why you do.

  4. It is impossible to treat the "Muslim Ummah" as anything other than a group.It is equally pointless to try to claim that Hamas's proclamation has no weight, when they are part of the same organization to which "Imam Rauf" belongs and from which much of his funding for the Ground Zero Mosque has come.Also equally dishonest has been the claim that "Cordoba House" is a commemoration of some grand time in the past when Christians, Jews, and Muslims all lived in harmony. The historical record is far more clear: Cordoba was the site of one of the Muslim "Khalifa" states, a murdering Islamist crew who burned down churches and planted mosques in their places, and derived most of their income from regularly raiding the neighboring Christian territories, while the remaining Christians and Jews in the area were subject to the most brutal of shari'a maltreatment as slave-class "citizens."The requirement of Jews to wear "distinguishing marks" didn't appear in Europe again until the National Socialist Party in Germany allied itself with the Grand Mufti.

  5. And yet, Jews are not rising up in protest against the mosque. In response to the ADL, JStreet submitted ten thousand signatures in support. Maybe they just need Mike to explain the history of dhimmitude?

  6. mythago,the history of idiots marching as sheep to their own destruction at the tune of the Pied Piper of Political Correctness is well documented.Anyone who's studied Islam in depth, and has any soul and conscience, cannot help but be horrified at what they find in the mad ravings of the 7th century pedophile.

  7. I wrote on this one today too. It's mazing how this issue has been warped by the headlines. Half of the comments I received were along the lines of, "I thought it was much closer and an actual mosque."

  8. I wrote on this one today too. It's mazing how this issue has been warped by the headlines. Half of the comments I received were along the lines of, "I thought it was much closer and an actual mosque."That was kind of my reaction as I started learning more about it weeks ago. I guess in the end I fall somewhere between the first and second category… not good to do things that will make people angry if you can avoid it and this was avoidable, but ultimately it's a local issue and if the people of NYC don't object I don't know why I should from way out here and even if they do object as long as it is in accordance with the law I'm not sure on what basis it should be stopped.

  9. Mike, there's some pretty horrifying stuff in the Bible, you may recall.If we're going to play the game of "everybody who disagrees with me is a doomed sheep," then it's the Jews who are freaking out about an Islamic community center who are following that piper. We have a very long history of exactly how Jews get treated, particularly by Christians, when the government does not protect minority religions and take an officially neutral stance toward religion.

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