LATER UPDATE: “Will it anger them and put Americans in danger? Sure it will….and so will invasions, bombings, collateral damage, secret prisons, pictures of torture and drone attacks!” Ron Paul responds on CNN
EVEN LATER UPDATE: FBI agents meet with church…
Reverend Terry Jones, the pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville Florida, plans to burn 200 copies of the Quran/Koran/kwatever on this year’s anniversary of 9/11. His motivation seems to be one of hate and censorship, yet he’s trying to portray this as some kind of message to radicals (earth to the Reverend, burning books is something radicals do). What’s quite telling is that he hasn’t even read the books, so it’s not like he can legitimately claim to actually be an authority on why the books are bad in the first place (thus, he’s a legitimate moron). But it seems everyone from the Vatican to Gen. Dave Patreus are making all sorts of media waves warning of backlash, which only serves to give further attention to the event. Even the families of muslims who died on September 11th are joining the chorus, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is planning on distributing 200,000 copies as a counter-protest. The official muslim freak-out and fear-fest has hit the 24-hour news cycle, again. Which… if you’ve listen to Jones, seems to be exactly what he wants: to drum up the anti-muslim sentiments that are bubbling by provoking the reaction of his radical muslim counterparts into violence.
Already camera crews from the four corners are pouring into Gainesville in hopes of capturing a good old book burning on film (followed by a commercial, no doubt). Which is again, exactly what Rev. Jones wants: publicity of his stunt. He’s getting people to flip out over an act that is completely legal in America: destroying your own property. NEWSFLASH: We’re allowed to destroy things that we own. Simple as that. It may be tasteless to destroy a holy text, but it’s protected speech.
But just because we protect speech, doesn’t mean we have to endorse it either, and that seems to be what the media does as this frenzy of speculation and fascination with radical acts of stupidity. I’m sure the KKK would love to be able to call up CNN the next time they plan a cross burning, or PETA would love to call up MSNBC to let them know they’ll be throwing paint on animal furs, or a laundry list of radical groups would love to have their upcoming book burnings attended by every anchor and pundit.
So even though this radical act of book burning is legal, repudiated, and shamelessly pimped by the media outlets, some one has to be the one to say the truth about Rev. Terry Jones: go ahead and turn off the TV, you aren’t required to watch him. And I urge news organizations to consider long and hard just how in the hell it’s in the public interest to continue parading Terry Jones in front of America and the world as some kind of hero of intolerance.