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Help AP Writers Find a Substitute Phrase for ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ — Update: Rep. Grayson Offers Suggestions

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By Doug Powers  •  August 19, 2010 04:34 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

The Associated Press is now prohibiting its staff from using the words “Ground Zero mosque” in stories:

The Associated Press, one of world’s most powerful news organizations, issued a memo today advising staff to avoid the phrase “Ground Zero mosque.”

The Upshot reported Tuesday that the AP started using the phrase “Ground Zero mosque” in some headlines in late May. The New York Times, for one, has consciously avoided that phrasing.

The AP began using the phrase as the controversy over the proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque in Lower Manhattan started bubbling up to the national level. Many news organizations, across platforms, routinely dub the project the “Ground Zero Mosque.”

The AP has always been clear in the text of stories that the project would be built two blocks from Ground Zero and not on the actual site. But AP headlines, at times, ran with the phrase adopted by opponents of the project and amplified by the media.

Now the news organization is taking steps to make sure that no longer occurs.

The AP memo is here. Give it a read and see if you think it’s simply a re-tread of a pro-mosque talking points memo (including a quote reminding AP staff that “the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaida has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims”). Fortunately for AP fact checkers, this mosque debate is taking place in between Sarah Palin book releases.

There’s no official line around the WTC site where “ground zero” ends, however I’m fairly certain that if the Associated Press office was two blocks away and hit by debris on 9/11, we’d be reading AP stories about “the horror we experienced at Ground Zero” to this day.

In any case, since “Ground Zero Mosque” is officially a no-no for the AP, here are a couple of suggestions for Associated Press writers to choose from to get us started. They could even use these on a rotating basis to avoid repetition. Feel free to add to this short list and I’ll try and put some of them up when I get home later:

-“The Hope & Change Experience”

-“House of worship in relative proximity to where Russell Simmons believes Christians bombed the WTC”

-“Project Bloomberg”

-“Site very far from WTC crater where faulty landing gear struck a now defunct Burlington Coat Factory turned peaceful multi-faith cultural center”

-“TAI Fridays”

Update: Naturally, nutmuffin Florida Rep. Alan Grayson has opined. After blaming 9/11 on Bush (of course), Grayson referred to the Ground Zero mosque as an “athletic center” and a “health club” — which is about as wildly exaggerated as calling Grayson a “lucid Congressman”:

Update II:

Doug Ross collected some of the best of your suggestions:

Here’s just a sampling of some great ideas:

15. Landing Gear Mosque
14. Project Bloomberg
13. 9/11 Victory Mosque
12. Daily Kosque
11. Caliphate-on-Hudson
10. The Gorelick & Clarke Building
9. Mosque formerly known as the Ground Zero Mosque
8. Hamosque
7. Crater’s Edge
6. Bullseye
5. The Mohammed Atta Memorial
4. Hormel House
3. The Debris Field Mosque
2. Burlington Terrorist Factory
1. New York Fire Training Academy

Awesome job! Hopefully we’ve managed to help out the AP.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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