Why in God’s name is the media giving this bloody Pentecostal minister in Florida so much press? Pastor Terry Jones is simply a dangerous and deranged attention seeker. Look, I understand it’s a news story, but if the media had ignored him the frenzy could have been easily abated.
Jones has succeeded in projecting his need to be self-important onto a world stage and to use his religion to put down another religion. The US media, which gave Jones the oxygen of publicity, should hang their collective heads in shame. All that’s been achieved is a dangerous fanning of the flames of extremism and further terrorist activity.
This is yet another example of why covering protests and demonstrations can be so problematic. Government, religious and opinion leaders have been almost universal in their condemnation of the event (thankfully now postponed – I suspect that Jones’s ego would not allow him to cancel it altogether), but do they represent the great unwashed?
All this hype has, with sad irony, elevated an act by a previously unknown figure with a tiny congregation to the level of international news – and it’s not even something he’s actually done yet. This is the danger of the split-second internet and Twitter news cycle, in which information can travel worldwide in less than 10 minutes. This lunatic pastor has proved that creating a captivating narrative (one which has all the elements that the media desire to turn into rolling, snowballing news) can create a global phenomenon regardless of taste, ethics or common sense.