African-Americans have often complained that when the media goes into a black neighborhood for a story, they always seem to find the biggest knucklehead in town to interview (See Dodson, Antoine), thereby leaving the impression that all African Americans are just like that guy. If this is not the media’s outright intent, the argument goes, then it is certainly the result of inexcusable negligence.
I’m starting to understand what they mean.
Among many other problems with the story, as an Evangelical, the media’s creation of the Koran-burning fiasco is shamefully offensive, unfair, and dangerous. The Reverend (?) Terry Jones has a vast throng of 50 followers—that’s fifty people, fewer than can be found at your local Denny’s at 4:00 PM. His church, the Dove World Outreach Center (Outreach? Mission accomplished!), meets in a metal shack that doesn’t even look big enough to hold all 50 at once. And Jones builds furniture to sell on eBay to make ends meet. In other words, the man is a sad little hayseed with no significance whatsoever.
That is, not at least until his moronic Koran-burning stunt got picked up by the media and, well, you know the rest of the story.
Had this been someone with the stature and following of a Franklin Graham or Joel Osteen or Rick Warren, or if the media had shown that Jones’ views were commonplace among Evangelicals, this would have been a very real story. Instead, the media used this idiot to make us look like ignorant bigots hell-bent on engaging in Nazi-like behavior simply to slake our desire to needlessly make Muslims angry. No other explanation has been offered as to why Jones deserved all of this attention. But now Muslims the world over have been exposed to “a Christian pastor” they can only assume is important promising to torch their holy book. And as a result, those same Muslims only assume many—if not most—of American Christians think burning Korans is just awesome.
Thanks a lot, guys. Really fine work.