Monday, August 14, 2006

The Legion of Rupert

This one's going in the bizarro file:
Representatives of an east London mosque used by several of the terror suspects reacted angrily yesterday to what they called a "sick stunt" by Rupert Murdoch's Fox News channel.

Mohammed Shoyaib, the imam of the Musjid-e-Umer mosque in Walthamstow, complained that he and other elders were tricked by a representative from the cable channel, a priest who said he was working for the Vatican and wanted to talk peace.

"He introduced himself as priest working in Rome," said Mr Shoyaib. "Then he said he was working for peace in the world, that all faiths should work together for peace, that he needs a united message of peace for the American people. Only later he said he was from 'a sister network of Sky News', but never mentioned Fox."

The man spent several minutes conversing on camera with the imam and elders, but they reacted furiously when they learned he was Father Jonathan Morris, a religious pundit for Fox News.

On his FOXNews blog, Morris -- a Legionary of Christ -- responds:

My hat goes off to the leaders of the mosque. From the beginning, I told them clearly that I was working with an American television network, and later I did tell them that I was with FOX News, an American sister network of Sky News in England. We talked at length. They were cordial, forthcoming, and all this as they let the camera roll. Other news media jumped in and tried to cause a stink, but that’s how it is in the news world. Some people are willing to break up something very good, just to get a story.
And meanwhile, I'm left thinking that if, say, a Jesuit were filling anywhere near a similar role on CNN, there'd be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Oh, wait... that already happened.