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Arianna Huffington Likens Mosque Opponents to Koran-Burning Pastor

Snatching the proverbial low-hanging fruit off the branch, Arianna Huffington compared the vast majority of Americans who oppose the construction of a mosque close to Ground Zero to the thirty members of a Florida church who plan to burn copies of the Koran on 9/11. Appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Thursday, the liberal publisher criticized the president for not echoing her logical fallacy.

"I think the point [President Barack Obama] could have made is to connect [Koran burning] with the opposition of the mosque," asserted Huffington, publisher of The Huffington Post. "You can't really completely separate these things."

Huffington then attempted to pass off circular logic as a "teachable moment:"

People who are saying we should not build the mosque there are basically denying the fundamental principles the president was talking about in your interview, you know, which is basically freedom to worship your religion on private ground, wherever you are. That's like an essential part of what America is based on. It was not an afterthought that the Fathers had - you know, religious freedom.


Conservative commentator Tucker Carlson, founder of The Daily Caller, countered Huffington's fatuous claims:

So if you think that it's intentionally provocative and an insult to the memory of 9/11 to build a mosque basically on the site, that's the same as burning a Koran or hating Islam? That's not even close. They're not related.


After agreeing with Huffington's illogical parallel, GMA anchor George Stephanopoulos directed a loaded question at Carlson.

"Here's the point I don't get - and it's not a mosque it's an Islamic center with a mosque and an inter-faith center inside - why isn't it honoring the memories of the victims of 9/11 to put that center there and prove that we're not going to sacrifice our freedoms?" demanded the former Clinton adviser.

A transcript of the relevant portion of the segment can be found below:

8:17 A.M. E.S.T.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We were talking about the Florida pastor just before we came on the air. Starting with you, Tucker. This had to be kind of a tough call in the White House. You've got this Florida pastor, thirty followers, yet pretty clearly from the beginning the week until the president's interview with me yesterday they were saying "we've got to take this on."

TUCKER CARLSON, founder of The Daily Caller: I don't think he needed to take it on. I think it was foolish to respond to your question - a good question though it was. He should have waved his hand dismissively; this guy represents no one, he's a lone wacko. I think the president truly believes, and many in his party do, that the center of the country is filled with people just like this, who are intolerant and hateful, and there's no evidence of that at all. There haven't been a lot of anti-Islamic incidents.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Setting aside what happens here in the United States, which is a hard thing to set aside, I think the danger is that even if he is a wacko, around the world he is seen as representing America?

CARLSON: So they're going to hate us more now? I mean, come on.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, founder of The Huffington Post: It's very hard for him not to respond when General Petraeus himself has said that this is going to be putting our troops at risk. I think the point he could have made is to connect it with the opposition of the mosque.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That would be doubling down though, wouldn't it?

HUFFINGTON: You can't really completely separate these things.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No, you're right.

HUFFINGTON: And I think that's really the teachable moment. People who are saying we should not build the mosque there are basically denying the fundamental principles the president was talking about in your interview, you know, which is basically freedom to worship your religion on private ground, wherever you are. That's like an essential part of what America is based on. It was not an afterthought that the Fathers had - you know, religious freedom.

CARLSON: So if you think that it's intentionally provocative and an insult to the memory of 9/11 to build a mosque basically on the site, that's the same as burning a Koran or hating Islam? That's not even close. They're not related.

HUFFINGTON: I didn't say it's the same, but there is a continuity. And you can't just say "this is okay, and anything beyond that is not."

STEPHANOPOULOS: Here's the point I don't get - and it's not a mosque it's an Islamic center with a mosque and an inter-faith center inside - why isn't it honoring the memories of the victims of 9/11 to put that center there and prove that we're not going to sacrifice our freedoms?

CARLSON: Well I guess there are two points. One, there is no mosque or inter-faith mosque, there's actually nothing, it's merely an idea and it's nowhere close to coming to fruition. So the point of this is to provoke. The point of this is to put a stick in the eye of people who are offended by this, which is like seventy percent of Americans. If you truly wanted to honor the memory of those killed on 9/11 why not ask the relatives of those who were killed on 9/11. Shouldn't they have a say in this? They're overwhelmingly against this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: A say, but not a veto.

HUFFINGTON: Yes, you can't have a veto and still basically stand up for the fundamental principles of the country and one of them is the freedom to worship wherever you are, on private ground, and whatever religion you believe in. I mean, that's a fundamental freedom, that was part of the founding of this country. It wasn't like an ancillary thought that the Founders had.

CARLSON: But nobody is denying that. The argument is is it a good idea? Or is it somehow a desecration? And you can believe, as I do, that it is a provocation and a desecration and it's wrong and maybe even immoral, but that you shouldn't prevent it legally. There is an argument to be made. And I have to say, conflating people who think it's wrong to build the mosque at Ground Zero with people who want to burn a Koran.


-Alex Fitzsimmons is a News Analysis intern at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.