On August 16, FoxNews.com absurdly claimed that President Obama's August 13 and 14 comments supporting the constitutional right of Muslims to build an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan near Ground Zero "elevated" the issue "beyond a local dispute and hurled it into the political arena." Yet pinning this national attention on Obama's recent comments - by Fox News of all outlets -- is disingenuous, at best, and reflects a complete lack of acknowledgement of what its own television hosts and contributors have been doing for months.
As a Media Matters for America report showed, Fox News' primetime shows have provided a megaphone to the Islamic center's opponents since at least May of this year - hosting 35 opponents and only 11 supporters as guests. Likewise, in July, Fox & Friends' co-host Alisyn Camerota fear-mongered that the Islamic center "plan[ned] to launch" on "9/11," and Fox News' Glenn Beck repeated that falsehood on the same show earlier this month, even though one of the executive directors leading the project has said this allegation is "absolutely false."
Tack on Fox News correspondents Sarah Palin's tweets to "Peaceful Muslims" to "refudiate" the center, and Newt Gingrich's media blitzkrieg against the building of the center- both dating back to July-- and it can easily be said that Fox News bears responsibility for nationalizing this issue, not Obama.