Rupert Murdoch’s media empire has set what may be a new standard of shamelessness by marking the anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks with the publication of a map of human remains that appears to have been developed for the New York Fire Department in 2002 but was never previously released.
“Here’s the chilling proof that Ground Zero stretches well beyond the boundaries of the World Trade Center site,” Murdoch’s New York Post boasted. “The map was obtained by The Post from sources after the Fire Department did not respond to requests to review it. It shows that remains were found just 348 feet to the south of the mosque site at 45 Park Place.”
Although the Post article does not make it clear how the map was obtained, it appears that the Fire Department was opposed to its release.
An even more ominous version of the same map, with lurid red dots glowing like puddles of freshly-spilled blood against a dark background, was deployed by the hosts of Fox News’ Fox & Friends on Friday morning.
The map indicates that human remains or traces of DNA were concentrated directly at the former World Trade center site, but there are a few dots further away, including three between 350 and 400 feet — about one and a half city blocks — from the proposed site of an Islamic cultural center
“The reason we bring this up,” Fox’s Doocy explained, “is because the imam himself said, ‘Look, this site is not ground zero proper. Nobody’s body was near that location.’ … To the people who lost loved ones, it is sacred ground — and, we should point out, 1,100 people’s remains to this day have still not been identified.”
Doocy did not mention that most of the structural steel from ground zero — probably including some of those unidentified remains — was quickly shipped to a Staten Island landfill for scrap processing, with 50,000 tons winding up going to Shanghai and another 10,000 to India.
Outrage at use of the map for this kind of political purpose has been swift. One response in a comment thread at Media Matters asked, “Are they going to reenact the day on 9/11? This is sickening.”
“Agreed,” added another. “It’s disgustingly morbid. Next they’ll start showing pictures of the people that died there and ask ‘Do you think they’d want it built there?'”
A New York City blog reprinted the Post map with the addition of other local landmarks. “We made their map better,” the Awl notes grimly. “Human remains: YOU’RE SHOPPING IN IT. You’re BOXING IN IT. You’re DRINKING IN IT and ATTENDING CUNY IN IT and you’re GOLDMAN SACHSING IN IT.”
The Fox segment also focused on recent remarks by the imam who plans to build the community center. Imam Feisal Adbul Rauf told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday that any agreement to move the building’s location further away from the site of the former World Trade Center would be a “wrong move.”
“This issue has riveted the attention of the whole Muslim world,” he explained. “Let’s say we moved under this current circumstance with this dialogue. What will be the headline tomorrow? ‘Islam under attack in America.’ … That will feed the radicals. So diffusing terrorism is a necessity for our national security.”
“It sounds to me like a warning,” Fox’s Brian Kilmeade said suspiciously.
“It almost seems now like they intended to incite this sort of reaction from Americans,” Gretchen Carlson suggested, “so that they could come full circle and say what the imam said the other night, which was, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, if you move it now, we’ve going to attack you.”
“That statement to me is the most troubling statement of this entire discussion,” she concluded. “And it made me wonder, did they do this on purpose?”
This video is from Fox News’ Fox & Friends, broadcast Sept. 10, 2010.