Pundits at Fox News saw the worst intentions when Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said that if the Park51 cultural center was moved from its planned location, radical Muslims would take it as a sign that Islam is under attack in the US.
Jon Stewart noted Monday that Republicans had made similar "threats" as a way to influence elections.
"Had I known this would happen, we certainly would never have done this," Rauf told CNN's Soledad O'Brien. "If we move from that location, the story will be that the radicals have taken over the discorse. The headlines in the Muslim world will be that Islam is under attack."
"The concern for American citizens who live and work and travel overseas will be compromised if the radicals are strengthened. If we don't do this right, anger will explode in the Muslim world," said Rauf.
Fox News pundits immediately suggested that that imam was making a threat.
"Here is a threat he made yesterday," Steve Doocy announced the next morning.
"It's a veiled threat," said Laura Ingraham.
Michelle Malkin went a step further. "I don't think it's any mistake he used the word explode," she said.
But Jon Stewart pointed out that Republicans had been making their own "threats" as a way garner votes. "To use a cheap use of fear as a way to expedite your desired outcome, that is so a few years ago," said Stewart.
"It is absolutely essential that eight weeks from today on November 2 we make the right choice," Vice President Dick Cheney said while campaigning for re-election in 2004. "If we make the wrong choice the danger is we'll get hit again."
Gov. Mitt Romney did the same thing in 2008. "Barack and Hillary have made their intentions clear on the war on terror," he said. "They would retreat, declare defeat and the consequence of that would be devastating. It would mean attacks on America."
Stewart noted the hypocrisy. "See that's not a threat. That's not a threat if you don't vote Republican, we'll be attacked by terrorists. Those are helpful warnings that have protected our country," Stewart concluded.