The current debate over the placement of a Muslim community center a few blocks from ground zero in New York City is a classic example of how “right-wing ‘leaders’ and right-wing media like Fox News have poisoned political discourse in this country,” writes Ted Morgan, Distinguished University Professor of political science and author of several books on politics and propaganda, in an op ed that recently appeared in The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa.
Morgan doesn’t spare Democratic leaders, who are accused of waffling as scandal-driven media outlets and right-wing attacks continue to move the country away from “the kind of public conversation and principled political leadership that can heal our wounds and build a democratic community.”
Predictably, Morgan writes, the attacks scapegoat an already-beleaguered Muslim minority by linking them to the actions of extremists, and singling them out for discriminatory treatment. “Given the long-term success of this tactic, the media play along and the leadership of the opposing party evaporates,” he writes. “It's a discourse that leads nowhere but downward.”
Read: Angry rhetoric on planned Muslim mosque leads U.S. down.