Over a week ago, we discussed the relative lack of coverage of a burning of a Koran some days earlier in Florida. The overwhelming response from readers to that post was that they hadn’t even heard about the burning. It was interesting to compare the non-stop, over-the-top coverage from last fall with the more appropriate and restrained coverage in recent weeks.
But now that mobs in Afghanistan murdered nine humans and injured 81 others in response to the burning of the book, we’re seeing much more coverage. And the coverage is very interesting. It reminds me of something I was taught in college about rape. Basically, no matter how short the skirt the girl’s wearing, she doesn’t deserve to be raped. I always thought it was also wise to dress modestly but that wasn’t the point. The point was that the rapist is responsible for the rape, not the victim or society.
Murdering people who have nothing to do with the Koran burning is another animal from rape entirely, but it is still surprising to me to see how the media suggests that the pastor who oversaw the Koran burning — Terry Jones — is responsible for murders he didn’t commit.
So, for instance, here is NBC reporter Luke Russert on Twitter:
11 people lost their lives so Terry Jones could burn a Koran and feed the 24/7 news monster http://abcn.ws/gzoJhH
Here’s The Guardian’s headline:
Terry Jones defiant despite murders in Afghanistan over Qur’an burning
US pastor is showing no regrets about an act of hatred that provoked a massacre of UN staff amid deadly riots
The Christian Science Monitor decides to put freedom itself on the line:
The violent reaction to Terry Jones burning the Quran at his tiny Florida church continued to spread Saturday, and with it questions about freedom of expression with murderous results.
More examples at The Daily Beast and New York Times (albeit in an otherwise solid report). Special hat tip to Reuters for coining the term “extreme fundamentalist pastor” to describe Jones. You know, for those times that “fundamentalist” just isn’t derogatory enough.
So clearly the media is focused on the “short skirt” angle to this case.