Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Koran-Burning & the Media

Putting aside the disturbing content of the controversy last week about the threat to burn Koran's, this episode is a remarkable example of how in the modern media context, obscure figures can make international news and force the government to respond. This has the perverse effect of blowing stories even further out of proportion and creating incentives for other fringe figures to draw attention to their causes by doing more and more outrageous acts. On the other hand, trying to ignore these incidents has drawbacks as well.

Here, the Christian Science Monitor asks if the media could have ignored the Koran-burning stunt:


I initially argued that the government should have ignored Jones, but now realize that story had gained such traction in the Muslim world, that Obama and Petreaus had no choice but to address the issue. I would have prefered, however, that they called on the media, foreign governments, and Muslims around the world to disregard this henious act while calling on Jones not to do it. The argument that Jones was putting our troops at risk may have been what swayed Jones, but I found it to be inconsistent with our counterterrorism message and objectives.

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