Let's be honest: We're all writing and talking so much about the Park51 Muslim cultural center planned downtown because of two things. One, the upcoming midterm elections, and two (possibly even more important), because it's August and there's nothing else to talk about. But that doesn't mean we have to be ridiculous about it. That's been Jon Stewart's point in recent days on the Daily Show. He argues that Fox News has gone to such an absurd extreme to stir up controversy that they're deliberately ignoring a glaring hypocrisy. That is, that the potential Park51 funder that they accuse of having dangerous Middle East ties is also the second largest shareholder in Fox's parent company, News Corp. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns about $2.3 billion in stock with News Corp. and is an ally of Rupert Murdoch's. But Fox commentators would have you believe that you should be worried about him funding Park51 because he is dangerous, and "funds radical madrassas all over the world."
Obviously, Fox News working up fears to keep people tuned in is nothing new. All the cable networks do it. But this particular story line seems particularly glaring in its baldness. So we reached out to Fox News about Stewart's point. They had no comment, and directed us to News Corp. A News Corp. spokesman also had no comment.
Speaking of remaining mum, if you watch the clip below, you'll see that the Fox & Friends discussion about Prince Alwaleed omits his actual name — making him seem all the more shadowy, and also conveniently making it easier to not acknowledge his funding ties to their own company. Often, when a media outfit reports on one of its shareholders, that connection is disclosed. But that would take all the fun out of scaring people, right? The Daily Show team really makes hay with this one.