Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why Must The Media Give Crackpot Pastor Terry Jones More Publicity?

Dallas social media consultant Giovanni Gallucci said about Pastor Terry Jones, leader of a minuscule church in Gainsville, Florida, who cancelled plans to burn Korans: "It’s a case point of this guy using the traditional news to have something go viral. …This is nothing more than a publicity stunt—someone waving their arms saying, 'Hey, look at me! Look at me!' And guess what, we did."

Yes, this crackpot made himself into an international celebrity through media publicity. What's worse is that after he called off his stunt, the media is still giving him a forum, as did host Carl Quintanilla on the Today Show:

Jones states, "We have come here with the hopes of speaking with the iman [sic]. We feel that we have somewhat of a common denominator in the fact that most people do not want the mosque near ground zero, and I assume all Moslems do not want us to burn the Koran.” Is there any "common denominator" between burning a book holy to billions and building an Islamic center with prayer spaces for Muslims, Christians and Jews and a multi-faith memorial dedicated to 9/11 victims?

The pastor has a sense of accomplishment: “One of our reasons was to show, to expose that there is an element of Islam that is very dangerous and very radical." That was made obvious on 9/11; we did not need the pastor's inflammatory antics to prove it. In addition, the fact that this element exists is no justification for offending every member of the religion.

The pastor compares himself to Abraham, who was "also called to do something crazy," implying that God asked for the burning of Korans. Evidently God then decided otherwise: "We were obedient, we feel that God is telling us to stop, and we also hope that with us making this first gesture, not burning the Koran…maybe that will open up a door to be able to talk to the iman [sic] about the ground zero mosque.” Besides God, world and national leaders and his own community were against Jones's plans. In any event, the pastor wants credit for no longer doing what he shouldn't have threatened in the first place.

Carl Quintanilla asks, “We’ve been criticized in the media, perhaps fairly, that we gave you a microphone and made you basically an international name... Was it for publicity?" Yes, Carl, publicity was a prime factor. More to the point, now that Pastor Jones, the subject of 4,102 news stories linked to Google news, has called off his stunt, why must the media continue to give this ignorant and divisive individual a microphone? Is it for ratings?

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