Fox News hosts Shepard Smith and Neil Cavuto on Monday cut off interviews with guests who speculated the fire that engulfed the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was connected to recent church attacks in the French city and around the country.
What happened in the Smith interview?
Smith's guest was Philippe Karsenty — a French media analyst and former elected official, the Hill said — and he characterized the Notre Dame fire as a 9/11-like event for the people of France.
"It's a French 9/11, you know? And it's a big shock," he told Smith. "The church was there for more than 850 years. Even the Nazis didn't dare to destroy it."
But then Karsenty noted in past years churches have been "desecrated each and every week in France, all over France. So, of course, you will hear the story of ... political correctness which will tell you that it's probably an accident—"
Smith immediately stopped Karsenty: "Sir, sir, sir, we're not going to speculate here of the cause of something which we don't know. If you have observations, or you know something, we would love to hear it."
But Karsenty added a warning that people "need to be ready," and Smith shut him down for good.
"No, sir, we're not doing that here, not now, not on my watch," Smith said before ending the interview. "Philippe Karsenty, it's very good of you to be here."
Here's the clip:
According to NewsBusters, Smith said 20 minutes later that "there have been a number of attacks on Catholic churches in the Paris area. But [the Notre Dame fire and past incidents] we are not connecting at this moment."
What happened in the Cavuto interview?
Cavuto's guest was Catholic League President Bill Donohue who said if the Notre Dame fire "is an accident, it's a monumental tragedy. 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 have been smashed."
At that point Cavuto cut off Donohue: "We don't know that. So if we can avoid what your suspicions might be. I do want to look at what happens now." The host then asked Donohue if he believed the Catholic Church will want to determine the cause of the Notre Dame fire before it commits more money to what he said was a fully funded renovation project.
"Well, first, they have to get to the bottom of it, and they will rebuild it," Donohue replied. "There's no question about that." But then he switched gears: "I'm sorry, I mean, when I find out that the Eucharist is being destroyed and excrement is being smeared on crosses. This is going on now!"
Then Cavuto cut off Donohue permanently.
"I love you, Bill, but we cannot make conjectures about this," Cavuto said before ending the phone call amid Donohue's protests. "So, thank you. Bill, I'm sorry. Thank you very, very much. I do want to let people know — and again we're not trying to be rude to our guests here — there is so much here we don't know about what happened here. We do know that about four hours ago something started here." Cavuto added that while there have been attacks in Paris, it's "another leap" to say an attack caused the Notre Dame fire.
Here's the clip:
What about the spate of church attacks?
Newsweek last month reported that vandalism, including arson and desecration, have been hitting Catholic churches across France since the start of the year.
More from the magazine:
Vandals have smashed statues, knocked down tabernacles, scattered or destroyed the Eucharist and torn down crosses, sparking fears of a rise in anti-Catholic sentiment in the country.
Last Sunday, the historic Church of St. Sulpice in Paris was set on fire just after midday mass on Sunday, Le Parisien reported, although no one was injured. Police are still investigating the attack, which firefighters have confidently attributed to arson.
In addition, a statue of the Virgin Mary was found smashed and the altar cross was thrown on the ground at the St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Houilles in February, Newsweek said, citing Catholic publication La Croix International.
An altar cloth was burned and crosses and statues of saints were smashed in February at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur, the magazine added.
And the altar was looted and a cross was smeared with human excrement at Notre-Dame des Enfants church in Nimes, Newsweek said.