Friday Stupid: Fish Wrap Worried About Media’s Role In Koran Burning Issue

Let the hand wringing begin

Coverage of Koran Case Stirs Questions on Media Role

Mr. Jones was able to put himself at the center of those issues by using the news lull of summer and the demands of a 24-hour news cycle to promote his anti-Islam cause. He said he consented to more than 150 interview requests in July and August, each time expressing his extremist views about Islam and Sharia law.

In other words, damn you, Fox News……oh, wait, they weren’t the first 24 hour news service? What’s that? News happens 24 hours a day? Oh. OK, then.

As a sidebar, extremist views about Islam and Sharia? Like Sharia law isn’t extremist? Stonings, whippings, cutting off limbs, hangings?

By the middle of this week, the planned Koran burning was the lead story on some network newscasts, and topic No. 1 on cable news – an extraordinary amount of attention for a marginal figure with a very small following. On Thursday, President Obama condemned Mr. Jones’s plan, and his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said that there were “more people at his press conferences than listen to his sermons,” in a bit of media criticism.

Kinda like at the Cindy Sheehan events. Then the Times goes off track, telling us all about Jones and his “church.” I put church in quotes, because, like Jeremiah Wright and the Westboro Baptist Church nuts, they are not practicing Christian doctrine.

Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, said in an e-mail message that the newspaper had “no policy against publishing things that might offend someone – lots of people are offended by lots of things – but we try to refrain from giving widespread offense unless there is some offsetting journalistic purpose.”

There are lots of other things the Times doesn’t worry about, either. We’ll get to that in a minute. But, let’s consider when Newsweek stated that a Koran was flushed at Gitmo. Islamists went nuts worldwide, even burning down a McDonalds. Oh, and a bunch of people were killed and injured. Anyone remember soul searching over that, which turned out to be a fake news story?

The episode has given rise to at least a little soul-searching within news organizations. Chris Cuomo, an ABC News anchor, wrote Thursday afternoon on Twitter, “I am in the media, but think media gave life to this Florida burning … and that was reckless.”

And there is quite a bit more soul searching out there in the media. Yet, consider: the NY Times and the rest of the liberal media had no problem when they were exposing secret anti-terrorist programs. The “warrant-less wiretapping” (which was anything but), the terrorist finance tracking program, and, just recently, an expansion in the use of military members for intelligence gathering in Afghanistan, have been secret programs exposed by the NY Times, among others. We recently saw the Washington Post write a series of articles that expose the names of actual members of the intelligence community. Jane Mayer, who worked for the New Yorker, exposed a program to assassinate members of al-Qaeda, which never became operational. These, and many others, never seemed to cause hang wringing from the media, despite putting Americans in harms way, as well as damaging our national security.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach. Re-Change 2010!

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