CBS Shoehorns Palin 'Refudiate' Gaffe Into Story About NYC Mosque
On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Jeff Glor managed to squeeze criticism of a gaffe made by Sarah Palin into a story on a controversial plan to build a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero in New York City: "...on Twitter she called on peaceful Muslims to 'refudiate' the plan....Liberal bloggers pounced on the made-up word and Palin retracted her tweet."
While describing the opposing sides in the debate, Glor noted how Palin "upped an already raucous debate" with her comments on Twitter. After showing her tweet on screen, Glor played a clip of her using the word "refudiate" during a television appearance. He noted her response to criticism: "'Shakespeare liked to coin new words, too.'" Glor then clumsily shifted back to the topic at hand: "Grammatical debates aside, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come out firmly in support of the plan."
Here is a full transcript of Glor's July 20 report:
KATIE COURIC: There's a heated debate going on here in New York over a plan to build a mosque and Muslim community center near the World Trade Center site. And as national correspondent Jeff Glor reports, just about everyone is weighing in.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I speak before you as a concerned citizen of New York.
JEFF GLOR: Opponents call it a mosque in the worst possible place.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: This building, in particular, should be turned into a museum.
GLOR: Supporters call it a cultural center in the best spot to encourage understanding.
DARISA DARWISH [MOSQUE ADVOCATE]: If a mosque were built, then you guys would know what Islam was about.
GLOR: At issue: This building in lower Manhattan, the proposed site of a 13-story community center and Islamic prayer space.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: This is the Muslim community's effort to rebuild lower Manhattan.
GLOR: The controversy? It's only two blocks from Ground Zero. This week, Sarah Palin upped an already raucous debate when on Twitter she called on peaceful Muslims to 'refudiate' the plan, calling it 'a stab in the heart for America.'
SARAH PALIN: They have power in their words. They could refudiate what it is that this group is saying.
GLOR: Liberal bloggers pounced on the made-up word and Palin retracted her tweet but not her sentiment, saying 'Shakespeare liked to coin new words, too.' Grammatical debates aside, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come out firmly in support of the plan.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Everything the United States stands for and New York stands for is tolerance and openness. What is it you're hope that this center will do?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: My hope is that this center will attract a lot of people who don't know about Islam.
GLOR: Do you feel like the debate is shifting at all?
TIM BROWN: Yeah. It's on a national stage now.
GLOR: But Tim Brown, a former New York City firefighter who lost 93 colleagues on September 11, calls the proposal a slap in the face. Your message today to the developers behind this?
BROWN: Stop it. Stop hurting the families. Everyday there's some stories in the newspaper, they're hurting the families again. They don't deserve it. These American families have paid too much.
GLOR: Brown and others, including New York gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio, are calling for an investigation into the financing behind the $4.8 million building purchase. Their concerns spurred in part by comments the center's imam made to '60 Minutes' in 2001, just weeks after the 9/11 attacks.
IMAM FEISAL [ABDUL RAUF, PARK ST. PROJECT DEVELOPER]: I wouldn't say that the United States deserved what happened. But the United States' policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Because that is the point-
GLOR: Citing anti-Americanism, opponents are pushing to have the building declared a landmark, which would make it far more difficult for any Muslim center construction to begin. Jeff Glor, CBS News, New York.
-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.