Fox anchors Neil Cavuto and Shep Smith each hung up on presumably expert guests Monday when they wanted to discuss possibilities the Notre Dame cathedral inferno could tie in with an ongoing spree of church attacks in France.
As the shocking images of the burning, historic landmark spread around the globe, speculation arose from various quarters that terror could be a cause that would need to be considered in the investigation.
Smith drew the line banning talk of any possibilities other than a construction-related accident as postulated early on by authorities. He ended a call with a French media analyst, Phillipe Karsenty, when he opined that the fire may not have been an accident as it’s been initially reported.
Reuters Paris bureau chief Luke Baker tweeted that France 2 had cited police saying that it “started by accident.”
“Everybody’s really under shock now in France,” Karsenty reported. “I would tell you something. Even if nobody died, it’s like a 9/11, it’s a French 9/11. It’s a big shock. This church was there for more than 850 years. Even the Nazis didn’t dare to destroy it.
“You need to know that for the past years, we’ve had churches desecrated each and every week in France, all over France. So, of course, you will hear the story of the politically correct — the political correctness which will tell you it’s probably an accident.”
Perhaps perking up with the comment about political correctness, Smith interrupted: “Sir, sir, sir, we’re not going to speculate here of the cause of something that which we don’t know. If you have observations or you know something, we would love to hear it.”
“I’m just telling you something, what we need to be ready,” Karsenty replied.
The noble and principled Fox anchor took a stand, pronouncing:
“No, sir, we’re not doing that here, not now, not on my watch. Philippe Karsenty, it’s very good for you to be here. We’re watching the at least partial destruction of a world icon, Notre Dame Cathedral has been burning for 2.5 hours. The initial reports we got were that the fire started in a construction zone in the rear. We are thousands of miles away. And the man on the phone with us has absolutely no information of any kind about the origin of this fire and neither do I. And the fire investigators will at some point come to a determination about what caused this and conspiracy theories about anything are worthless and in many cases counter productive and injurious to society. And those who entertain them are not acting in the best interests of the people of this planet.”
Video from Fox News
On his own program a bit later, Fox’s Cavuto reacted similarly when Catholic League president Bill Donahue speculated the fire could be related to other recent attacks on Catholic churches in Paris.
“Well, Neil, if it is an accident, it’s a monumental tragedy,” Donahue said. “But forgive me for being suspicious. Just last month, a 17th-century church was set on fire in Paris. We’ve seen tabernacles knocked down, crosses have been torn down, statues …”
At this point, Cavuto jumped in saying, “We don’t know that. So if we can avoid what your suspicions might be. I do want to look at what happened now. A very pricey rebuilding and renovation effort going on that involved a good deal of Catholic fundraising campaign I know in this country and abroad. This renovation was paid for up front. So, in other words, all the monies were there. Now I’m wondering how much more the Catholic Church commits to this or do you think they now first want to get to the bottom of it?”
Resisting Cavuto’s attempt to redirect him, Donahue said, “First, they have to get to the bottom of it and they will rebuild it. There’s no question about that. They certainly, the Catholic Church will come up for the money for it, that’s not even a question. I’m sorry. When I find out that the Eucharist is being destroyed and excrement is being smeared on crosses …”
And that was enough for Cavuto. He ended the call saying, “I love you, Bill, but we cannot make conjectures about this. So, thank you. Bill, I’m sorry. Thanks very much. I do want to let people know, and again we’re not trying to be rude to our guests here. There’s so much here we don’t know about what happened here.”
Video from Fox News
The intensity of the flames coming out of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris… pic.twitter.com/JDAMCXFMk4
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) April 15, 2019
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