Big Journalism fact-checks the AP's fact-checking.
AP’s Deputy Managing Editor for Standards and Production, Tom Kent, sent this “guidance” out to his colleagues, with inputs from Chad Roedemeier in the New York bureau and Terry Hunt in Washington: “We should continue to avoid the phrase ‘Ground Zero mosque’ or ‘mosque at Ground Zero’ on all platforms. (We’ve very rarely used this wording, except in slugs, though we sometimes see other news sources using the term.) The site of the proposed Islamic center and mosque is not at Ground Zero, but two blocks away in a busy commercial area. We should continue to say it’s “near” Ground Zero, or two blocks away.”
Interestingly, among those who formerly used the now-proscribed descriptor “Ground Zero mosque” is none other than Feisal Abdul Rauf, its imam and chief promoter. He called it that even though the proposed venue has always been two blocks away from the World Trade Center site.
It behooves us, therefore, to do a fact check on AP’s “fact check”:AP: “A New York imam and his proposed mosque near ground zero are being demonized by political candidates — mostly Republicans — despite the fact that Islam is already very much a part of the World Trade Center neighborhood. And that Muslims pray inside the Pentagon, too, less than 80 feet from where terrorists attacked.”THE FACTS: “Demonized” is a loaded term that denigrates the criticism Republicans and a growing number of Democrats – including Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader – have properly made of the site of the Ground Zero Mosque and, in some cases, of its Imam. The issue is not whether Muslims pray in proximity to Ground Zero – or the Pentagon’s equally hallowed ground. Rather, it is whether they and the facility in which they pray are dedicated to the promotion of the seditious, anti-constitutional program of Shariah. If so, it is a problem. If not, not.