Media-created mayhem

The NY Times has belatedly published a piece about the media’s role in the Koran-burning story – a sort of “Did we do that?”.
In the olden days of print news it would have made page 3, maybe page1 (on a slow day) of the local paper.

Now, thanks to cable and the 24-hour news cycle an obscure pastor can become a world figure gaining the attention of the president, the Pope, generals, the FBI and all the talking heads you can shake a stick at.

So a question for the media: since nutjobs like Westboro Baptist and “Pastor” Jones feed on publicity, why not starve them? Don’t you feel like idiots being so easily manipulated?
Take the power back Just say, “Ho-hum, another crazy” and don’t even bother.
I can hear the cries, “A conspiracy of silence!” Yes, exactly. Let this guy burn the Koran, but he is hardly entitled to international coverage. Without it he and others will wither on the vine.

There was a story in the local paper a few days ago referencing one of the people in the Westboro Baptist Church (–no relation to real Baptists!). Seemed she was annoyed by all the coverage of the guy in Florida, because, as the story in the link above mentions, the WBC had already done such a stunt, and were entirely ignored.

That said, it’s the Internet that fans these stories; but the more traditional media ought to be ignoring them. Too often they are taking their cues from bloggers and video posters. That’s not good journalism.

The internet contains individuals called astroturf (fake grass roots) who pose as Joe Average to tell you about this thing they heard about. It’s also called “viral marketing.”

In an age where the media will do anything to sell newspapers and get eyeballs, this kind of thing is made to order. “Look! A real nutjob! Let’s raise our advertising rates!”

I mean, look at this this way: Every single day: the latest killings, other big crimes, celebrity news, complaints about the government, and then, one day, “Some guy wants to burn the Koran!” That’s not something you see every day.

But the more important angle is this: Would you shrug your shoulders if some other religious person decided to burn a Bible one day or a copy of the Torah? Seriously, this is not a ‘let’s ignore him and he’ll just disappear’ situation. What if others decide that burning the Koran/Bible/Torah is a good idea too? So there is a legitimate news interest here.

The US Government became involved because a legitimate security risk was created.

God bless,

But the complaint of the WBC is that they did the very same thing–and everybody DID ignore them. Just because somebody, anybody wants to be a goofball doesn’t mean they are entitled to airtime or bandwidth. If people want to burn books that they own and don’t cause any fire hazards, big deal. It’s a free country.

We talked about that in school. “You don’t want this story to gain attention in the Middle East? Have the President talk about it.”

What do you expect from the lame-stream media?

I can certainly understand the concern that stories like this will stir up angry mobs in the middle east. Still, if freedom must be constricted by de facto limitations imposed by outside countries, what good is it?

Thinking on my past, if I had not had the freedom to exercise my foolishness and stupidity, I would have had a pretty boring youth. (Of course, parents necessarily impose some limits to foolishness, but some people never outgrow it.)

I totally agree with you. I think it’s idiotic that they would talk about it. If the President didn’t want this to be an issue, DON’T TALK ABOUT IT!" But hey, what do you expect with the President we got?

I am the first to defend anyone’s freedom of speech.

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