How a Right-Wing Warrior's Interview With Hamas Spins the Mosque Debate
For starters, there's today's chief talking point which is offered on the Post's front page: "HAMAS BIG BACKS MOSQUE, Terror Boss Likes GZ Site." The Hamas big in question is Mahmoud al-Zahar who, we're told, gave his pro-mosque quotes on "Aaron Klein Investigative Radio" on WABC." As terror-endorsements go, the quotes are pretty small-bore stuff: "We have to build the mosque, as you are allowed to build the church and Israelis are building their holy places," al-Zahar is quoted as saying.
To use the pundit phrase of the day, as applied to Barack Obama's own mosque comments, let's walk this one back a bit.
Actually, Aaron Klein, the interviewer, is not a WABC investigative radio journalist, but the host of a Sunday afternoon talk show on the station. His day job is "senior staff reporter and Jerusalem Bureau Chief" for WorldNetDaily, a far-right website whose other current top news stories now are "70 Avowed Socialists in U.S. Congress," and "Obama: Muslim Missionary, Part 1," by Chuck Norris (yes, that Chuck Norris).
There's also an ad on the page for Klein's most recent book, which was released in May: "The Manchurian President: Barack Obama's Ties to Communists, Socialists, and Other Anti-American Extremists."
That's not to question Klein's possible bona fides for holding up a microphone and transcribing an interview. But in fairness, it might be worth letting folks know that the quotes in question were not provided via a reporter for one of America's largest radio stations, but by a right-wing missionary whose star shines brightest on a web site that wants to make sure everyone knows the President is a secret Muslim.
Walk things a little further back and we find that Klein was the source of an earlier story that got major play in the Post about how the would-be leader of the planned downtown mosque and cultural center, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf - refused to condemn Hamas. "Look, I'm not a politician. The issue of terrorism is a very complex question," Rauf told Klein then. Again the interview was cited in the June 19 Post story as having been given to WABC radio, minus any "talk show host" qualifier .
For one more indicator as to how comments and sourcing get slightly bent out of shape in Klein's hands, take a look at his own story on his WorldNetDaily site about another interview he aired this Sunday, one with Ed Koch. The hedline is "Former NYC mayor: Ground Zero mosque 'insensitive.'"
The ex-mayor said that adding: "They have an absolute right under our Constitution to build a mosque anywhere you can build a church or a synagogue or a Hindu temple."
In Koch's own comments, emailed to friends and associates today, he skips the "insensitive" part, offering a full-throated defense of that secret Muslim, President Obama:
"President Obama was right to express his views on constructing a mosque near Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11 catastrophe," says Koch, adding: "Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was first to take up the fight to protect the legitimate rights of American Muslims to build a mosque near Ground Zero, was right and courageous to lead the way and point Americans in the right direction."
But what does he know? This afternoon, Rush Limbaugh ran big with the Hamas mosque endorsement quotes; Glenn Beck and the tribe can't be far behind. That's how it's done in a real jihad, folks.