Friday, August 20, 2010

State run media issues gag order on “Ground Zero Mosque” usage


“These aren't the radicals you're looking for. You can go about your business. Move along... move along.”

Nothing to see here, right?


The Associated Press, aka the “State Run Media,” has instructed its correspondents to henceforth cease using the term “Ground Zero Mosque” in stories covering the red hot controversy surrounding plans to construct a Muslim mosque and community center at the site of the Twin Towers:

Aug. 19, 2010


Here is some guidance on covering the NYC mosque story, with assists from Chad Roedemeier in the NYC bureau and Terry Hunt in Washington:

1. 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.


In short headlines, some ways to refer to the project include:

_ mosque 2 blocks from WTC site
_ Muslim (or Islamic) center near WTC site
_ mosque near ground zero
_ mosque near WTC site

We can refer to the project as a mosque, or as a proposed Islamic center that includes a mosque.

It may be useful in some stories to note that Muslim prayer services have been held since 2009 in the building that the new project will replace. The proposal is to create a new, larger Islamic community center that would include a mosque, a swimming pool, gym, auditorium and other facilities.

2. Here is a succinct summary of President Obama’s position:

Obama has said he believes Muslims have the right to build an Islamic center in New York as a matter of religious freedom, though he's also said he won't take a position on whether they should actually build it.

For additional background, you’ll find below a Fact Check on the project that moved yesterday.


If you want to manage the message,  control the debate by controlling the terms people use to describe the controversy.  It’s not really a mosque at Ground Zero.  It’s a community center somewhere in lower Manhattan; a commercial area that also has strip clubs and Subway Sandwich shops nearby, or something.

In fact, let’s help defend the embattled President by “succinctly” defining his position as non-controversial, non-inflammatory, a non-issue.

“These are not the radicals you are looking for. You can go about your business.  Move along.”

Do yourself and your fellow Americans a huge favor.  Use these three words in almost every email, blog post, tweet or facebook update:

"Ground Zero Mosque.”

Gimme some feedback in the comments.


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