“The View” hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg initially walked off the stage of the morning talk show after Bill O’Reilly made inflammatory comments regarding the mosque slated to be built near Ground Zero. Fancast reports O’Reilly said it is inappropriate for a mosque to be built so close to the former World Trade Center site “because the Muslims killed us on 9/11.”
It was one in a string of comments the Fox News personality spewed at the ladies of “The View” during the Oct. 15 live broadcast. As a result, both Behar and Goldberg dramatically walked off stage in a huff. However, both returned shortly thereafter and apologized to O’Reilly.
But was it real? It may be a mere coincidence CBS’ new daytime talk show and The View‘s only real ratings competition airs the Monday after the O’Reilly controversy. “The Talk,” according to CBS, features “six amazing working mothers challenging each other on issues and events in the headlines and their own homes through the lens of motherhood.”
The O’Reilly incident is just one of several unusual aspects of the controversy surrounding a community center which is being built two blocks from the World Trade Center site. Here is a look at how Bill O’Reilly’s comments fit into the Ground Zero mosque debate.
Timeline of the Mosque Debate
According to Media Matters, the New York Times first reported on the Islamic cultural center in December of 2009. The same day the article was published, author Pamela Geller of her Atlas Shrugs blog responds by saying the idea of a mosque near the Ground Zero site is “grotesque.”
Fox News interviewed the wife of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Daisy Khan. There still wasn’t any controversy surrounding the project until Geller got a hold of it again. She continued to bash the mosque near Ground Zero, calling it “an insult.”
Then, in May of 2010, the controversy came out. The New York Post ran an article about the Islamic center in New York. A few days after that story, a man in Jacksonville, Florida, attempted to firebomb the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida. Fox News interviewed Imam Rauf and then Pamela Geller. Now the debate about the Islamic center near Ground Zero was at the forefront of the national consciousness.
Who Is Pamela Geller?
Apparently, one person fueled this controversy. Geller has written over 200 blog posts on the subject of how horrible the mosque will be near the site of the World Trade Center. Let’s review the first line of her biography on her own blog: “Pamela Geller is the founder, editor and publisher of Atlas Shrugs.com, bringing you the news you will not hear from the mainstream media, providing original reportage…and giving an unblinkingly honest examination of global affairs.”
Geller is also the executive director of Freedom Defense Initiative/Stop Islamization of America. Geller has appeared on numerous television shows and has won awards. She organized a rally in early June that had around 350 people attend, by some estimates. All of this controversy came to a head on Sept. 11, 2010, when a conservative Christian pastor in Gainesville, Florida, threatened to burn copies of the Holy Qu’ran to mark the anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
The walk out on O’Reilly during “The View” was more likely an orchestrated show to drum up drama and ratings, otherwise Goldberg and Behar would not have returned nor apologized to O’Reilly in the first place. It would seem ignoring O’Reilly and Geller’s tantrums is the perfect way to deal with this “controversy,” as a civil, logical debate is next to impossible when all Muslims are systematically categorized as terrorists and the reason Americans died on 9/11.
Mitovich, Matt Webb, “O’Reilly’s ‘View’ On Muslims Makes Cohosts Storm Off Set”, Fancast.com.
Media Matters, “TIMELINE: Nine months of the right’s anti-Muslim bigotry”, mediamatters.org.
Geller, Pamela, “Pamela Geller”, atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com.