Here's an idea… don't put a microphone in front of the lunatic preacher and his band of 50 followers who plan to ban hundreds of copies of the Qu'ran on 9/11. Don't put a camera on his face. Don't invite him on your news show to explain what he intends to do.
Well, I guess it's too late for that. It's a little disconcerting how the modern media can turn an obvious lunatic into an international cause celebre (or anti-celebre) in only a few days. Media critic Howard Kurtz, who correctly calls the story "substantially overplayed, with potentially dangerous consequences", has traced the timeline:
But how did we get to this point? The first national report I found was carried by Religious News Service on July 21. On Aug. 26, the New York Times reported that Jones planned to hold a bonfire of Korans because, he said, it is "full of lies." The story ran on Page 14. Not much happened.
But the story continued to bubble. On Monday, ABC's "Good Morning America" and "World News" aired pieces on the controversy. On Tuesday, David Petraeus said in a statement the Gainesville stunt could endanger American troops. That lit the fuse. The story exploded, especially on cable.
And of course, with international calls for the United States to squelch the Qu'ran burning, and assessments by the FBI and CIA that the Qu'ran-burning will foment a terrorist response (as well as serve as a terrorist recruitment tool), all of a sudden we actually have a legitimate news story. Lovely.
Okay, so what to do?
Well, many countries want the U.S. government to step in and stop the burning from happening. Newsflash, folks. That's not going to happen. We have free speech here, which means that idiots get to speak, too, even if it is offensive.
The best solution? I have it. Not that anyone will listen.
It's often said that the best solution to offensive (yet free) speech is more speech. So let's speak out against it in a grandiose way. Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, John McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama should make a joint appearance and state bluntly that this Paster Terry Jones guy (as opposed to the funny one) is a wacko. And use that word, too — "wacko". Make it into a Youtube video. Let the world know that we know he's an idiot, and Arab nations shouldn't give him power and legitimacy by being offended at what he does.
That's my solution.
P.S. This pastor is crazier than you might think.