Jon Stewart: Is the Burlington Coat Factory on Ground Zero?


Jon Stewart's Daily Show takes the day's news and by eleven o'clock boils down the biggest story to a sort of moral position that is usually smarter, more wise and funnier than anything the talking heads had to say about it at eight o'clock.

On so many issues, Jon Stewart has been a guiding moral light to me, light-hearted and truly wise. During the Bush years, Jon Stewart diffused fury, and made it possible to breathe amidst the feeling that America was becoming a Patriot Act nightmare.

Jon Stewart is invaluable to American culture. When he makes a decision, a whole generation follows his lead. I've usually been one along with them.

But recently, his segments on 9/11 have not been fair. He unnecessarily defended the Democrats, and specifically his friend Anthony Weiner, after they killed the Responders Bill with a fake vote and no debate.

Then on the Ground Zero mosque, Stewart's position leads him to defend the rights of Muslims by defaming Catholics to make his point. His concern on behalf of religious freedom is rooted in a good place--The Constitution--but his tactic for defaming its opponents is unfair and based on a fundamental mistake (which I also made) about the "hallowness" of the Burlington Coat Factory.

The Burlington Factory was destroyed on 9/11, and so is part of Ground Zero, and is thought, fairly by some, to be hallowed ground. There is no need to mercilessly insult 9/11 Families or their supporters who hold that view.

Jon Stewart has painted a picture of those who criticize the Ground Zero mosque in anti-Catholic caricatures from his August 16th show. I'm not religious, and I wouldn't normally be offended, but it seems so unfair that he would go this route. Stewart employs jokester weapons to destroy critics of the mosque: defamation, mocking and association of an idea with particularly contemptible persons.

The Daily Show has made a mockery of the dumb Catholic New Yorker that would prefer not see a mosque built on top of a building and business that was destroyed on Septempter 11th 2001.

After dropping joke upon joke that Catholics were being haters, child molesters, and phobic for objecting to the mosque, the writers of the Daily Show also wrongly concluded that the Burlington Coat Factory was just a store. The defense on behalf of Muslims left many a Catholic feeling dirty I'm sure.

I'm not sure I agree that the Burlington Coat Factory is hallowed ground, but I would not insult people who might think of it that way. The Burlington Coat Factory was destroyed like other Ground Zero sites on September 11th.

There is reason to question the wisdom of chosing this location for a mosque, because it's on Ground Zero, and people are sensitive about what's built there.

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