Fox News, the New York Times, and Associated Press have the Koran burning wrong. Right Pundits has it right. Any available video and photos will be below, whether from Terry Jones during the so-called “Burn a Koran Day” at Dove World Outreach Center in Florida or others who have vowed to take his place in Kansas, Wyoming and elsewhere.
As the week unfolded it quickly became obvious that the top news story of the week is Florida pastor Terry Jones’ announcement of a Koran burning on September 11th. That it is a major news story is self-evident from public interest both abroad and around the world. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented on it, Defense Secretary Robert Gates commented on it, and so did President Barack Obama and other heads of state around the world. Riots are unfolding in the usual hot spots in anticipation (see video below).
And yet several major news providers are taking an indefensible position in reporting the event itself.
The Associated Press announced no live feed will be made available to their syndication partners and no pictures will be distributed either. According to associate editor Tom Kent, the A.P. will “not distribute images or audio that specifically show Korans being burned, and will not provide detailed text descriptions of the burning.” His rationale is that they will not provide coverage of events that are “gratuitously manufactured to provoke and offend.”
Bill Keller, editor of the New York Times rationalizes similarly. “We have 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.” You can read for yourself here.
Not to be outdone in a rush toward journalistic ducking, Fox News will not cover any aspect of such an event should it happen. According to Fox bigwig Michael Clemente, they do “not cover every flag burning that happens in this country. We don’t run every hostage tape.” Read here.
Really? Such an approach would be defensible if the event were not newsworthy like these media companies claim. But this IS a newsworthy event, and obviously so as public reaction around the world makes plainly obvious, Terry Jones’ threatened Quran burning event is of high interest to just about everyone of the Muslim faith and a large segment of the U.S. population. Whether or not it should be cannot be a legitimate consideration by news editors. It just is.
By their chameleon standards, the Oklahoma City bombing would not be a newsworthy event. After all Timothy McVey was just one guy making a political statement meant to provoke others. Yet Fox News assisted by the AP covered the bombing’s aftermath and would have surely filmed the event itself if they had clairvoyant foresight. By the same token the Unibomber was an army of one, yet the New York Times ran his entire manifesto providing the publicity that the Unibomber sought. What is so different between the Unibomber and a church of 40 people manufacturing an event to make a political statement? It isn’t the number of people that make news events worthy. It is the news itself that matters.
The Koran burning events planned on 911 are not even a close call. The fact that these high profile news providers commented so publicly about their lack of coverage makes it ironically obvious that they too know it is important news. They cannot pretend otherwise or wish the news away.
Right Pundits will cover the Quran burning event should it happen using whatever live feed video is made available from alternative media sources. We will publish the photos too, providing the news while traditional news providers are standing down. Bookmark us and help us out below in the comments.
–Burning the Koran video at Ground Zero can be found here.
–More Koran destruction is here.
–Nashville Tennessee Koran burning is here, free speech conducted by Reverend Bob Old and the Reverend Danny Allen.
For now Terry Jones has canceled his event. Or has he? It’s still not clear but whether he goes forward or not, there are others promising to do the same regardless.
Similar Quran burnings are threatened in Wyoming by a group calling itself the Wyoming Tyranny Response Team. Details here. Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka Kansas will do the same. Details here. Pastor Bob Old in Springfield Tennessee will do the same.
This editorial decision is not without risk, risks that AP, Fox News and the New York Times are unwilling to admit play a central role in their decision making process on every news story. The dirty secret in media publishing is that there are advertiser considerations to worry about, and there are shareholder considerations should the companies become a target themselves. How much these considerations play a role in the major news networks hiding from this one story will never be told but I know of no better example of corporate-media bias than the Koran burning coverage. Other factors are influencing their news reporting that have nothing to do with news.
So reader comments are welcomed particularly if you have a link for our readers to find live coverage of the Koran burnings wherever they might occur on September 11th, 2010. If there is a live feed available we will embed it, and we will publish photos of the event that can be found from any sources we find or our readers find and provide to us.
Burning Koran Video (new)