Despite reports that the fire at Notre-Dame cathedral on Monday was likely an accident — ironically caused by renovations that were meant to make the building last longer — political “pundit” Glenn Beck wasted no opportunity to keep his name in the headlines by suggesting that radical Muslims might be to blame for the destruction.
“If this was arson this is going to be bad,” he said. “It might have just been started by a cigarette, we don’t know. But if this was started by Islamists, I don’t think you’ll find out about it, because I think it would set the entire country on fire. They’ve had killings, they’ve had mass shootings, they’ve had people running people down in the streets — the tension is very high,” he added.
There’s no reason to believe this church was destroyed by terrorists. That’s just a Beckian fantasy that fuels his audience’s conspiracy theories. Yet even more problematic than that insinuation was his comparison to an actual act of terrorism:
“This is their 9/11,” Beck said. “This is a world landmark and probably, next to the Eiffel Tower, the most iconic building in all of France, and more important than the Eiffel Tower.”
Beck then doubled down on his conspiracy theory, even comparing the fire — from which there were no casualties — to the 9/11 attacks that killed thousands and prompted conflicts that continue to this day. “This is their World Trade Center moment, and if this was done by terrorists I think that they will keep it quiet.”
No, it’s not their 9/11.
9/11 was a terrorist attack, and all available evidence says the Notre Dame fire was accidental.
9/11 resulted in thousands of deaths. The fire this week resulted in none (so far).
We shouldn’t be surprised by the bad comparison, though. Beck’s entire career revolves around connecting dots that no one drew. That doesn’t mean what happened in Paris isn’t tragic, but the circumstances for each event could not be more different. Call it a “national tragedy” and leave it at that. What Beck is saying on BlazeTV is just fear-mongering with no basis in reality. It’s a sad and desperate attempt to stay relevant.