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Sunday, August 29, 2010
MRC's Gainor: Telling Truth = Taking Sides
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Dan Gainor writes in his Aug. 25 column:

The unseen hand of journalism manipulating American democracy is no longer unseen, nor is it as effective as it once was. But that hasn't stopped the media from trying its best.

The Associated Press "Standards Center" issued a "staff advisory on covering New York City mosque" on Aug. 19 as just one piece of that spin. "We should continue to avoid the phrase ‘ground zero mosque' or ‘mosque at ground zero' on all platforms."

Since that spin memo, finding the term "Ground Zero Mosque" on network news is all but impossible. Before the memo came out, journalists like ABC's David Kerley were allowed to use it. On Aug. 15, there was Kerley talking about Obama "trying to steer through the treacherous waters of the Ground Zero Mosque" debate. "Early Today" host Lynn Berry talked about the "Ground Zero Mosque controversy." Other reporters echoed the term.

But AP had to choose sides. To the great spinmeisters in that organization, a building near the World Trade Center that was actually damaged in the attack isn't at Ground Zero. Had AP headquarters been in that building, you can bet they would have covered their own damage like it had been Ground Zero. It's the terminology game reporters and editors play.

Gainor is pretending that his position on the definition of Ground Zero is not also "spin."Defining Ground Zero as the grounds of the World Trade Center complex and immediately adjacent buildings that suffered significant damage -- of which the Islamic center site is not one -- is not an unreasonably narrow definition. The planned Islamic center is not merely a mosque.

Thus, "Ground Zero mosque" is an inaccurate term for the project. AP's efforts to strive for an accurate term means it "chose sides" with the truth.

Gainor portrays this as "Americaphobia." Apparently, we're not supposed to tell the truth with it interferes with Gainor's political agenda.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:58 AM EDT

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