Fox News links terror attacks in Norway to Park51

Friday night on The O’Reilly Factor, guest host Laura Ingraham did a brief report on the terrorist attacks that killed dozens of people in Norway. She began by saying, “In the ‘Back of the Book’ segment tonight, two deadly terror attacks in Norway, in what appears to be the work, once again, of Muslim extremists.” She went on to describe the attacks, which involved a bombing in Oslo and a mass shooting.

Ingraham then immediately transitioned into a segment on Park51, the planned Islamic community center near the World Trade Center, by saying, “In the meantime, in New York City, the Muslims who want to build the mosque at Ground Zero scored a huge legal victory. A Manhattan judge dismissed a lawsuit by former New York City firefighter Timothy Brown, who was trying to stop construction of the mosque. Bill O’Reilly spoke with a lawyer for the Muslim developers yesterday.”

Friday’s edition of The O’Reilly Factor was recorded, so, despite the fact that several outlets were already reporting at the time the show aired that the suspect in the attacks was not linked to any Islamist groups, Fox News viewers were left with that impression anyway.

Logistical constraints aside, it’s totally inappropriate to juxtapose news of a terrorist attack with a discussion of Park51 because they both purportedly have something to do with Muslims. This is an attempt to reanimate Fox’s failed strategy from last year of smearing Park51 by baselessly associating it with terrorism.

Media Matters for America, 23 July 2011