Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs suggested Tuesday evening that French officials made a “political decision” to quickly rule out arson as the cause of the fire that destroyed much of the historic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.
While French authorities are currently treating the blaze as an accident and have ruled out—for the moment—arson and terrorism, baseless speculation and wild conspiracy theories have run rampant, especially on the right. Conservative host Glenn Beck, for instance, said: “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.”
Noting that French prosecutors are investigating the cause of the blaze, Dobbs said that “within just a matter of hours,” authorities had ruled out arson.
Citing an International Business Times article on recent church vandalism, the Lou Dobbs Tonight host stated that it was “perhaps overlooked” that 875 Catholic churches had been vandalized in 2018, adding that a church had been deliberately set on fire in Paris last month.
“This is context, this is not speculation, this is the situation right now in France and the recent history of what has happened to Catholic churches throughout the nation,” Dobbs declared. “Ignored too often by some covering the tragedy, some who have ruled out speculation about the cause of the Notre Dame fire as they speculate—taking it as gospel that, well, arson was not the cause.”
He added: “That was a decision made within hours. It sounds like a different kind of decision. Perhaps a political decision, rather than one based on careful investigation of the facts. That would amount to speculation, wouldn’t it?”
Interestingly, Dobbs’ questioning the cause of the fire and suggesting French officials are purposely dismissing the possibility it was maliciously set comes on the heels of two Fox News anchors cutting off interviews with guests for pushing conspiracy theories on the air.