There’s No PR Like Koran-Burning PR

Why does the media think this dogmatic nimrod author deserves so much attention?

Florida pastor and designated wingnut Terry Jones turned his Dove World Outreach Center into a global sensation this week by promising to burn Korans on national TV. The stunt is called “International Burn-a-Quran Day.”

When you boil the event down to its essence, it’s a successful PR stunt by a fringe group of extremists. The New York Times has a good article on the topic:

On Wednesday, Mr. Jones — currently the subject of 4,102 news stories linked to by Google News — told the world that he would press ahead with the publicity stunt he announced in July on “The Braveheart Show,” a series of YouTube rants by Mr. Jones with viewing figures in the hundreds, with inflammatory or poorly spelled titles like “Obama Is President Because He Is Black,” “Haiti Must Repent,” “Is Islam the Anti-Christ?” and “Why Are We Loosing?”

As the 236 viewers of the Sept. 12, 2009, episode of the show may recall, last year Mr. Jones also staged an anti-Islam protest on the last anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, but the few reporters at that event, attended by about 30 members of his church, were from local newspapers like The Gainesville Sun and The Independent Florida Alligator.

This year, thanks to the attention generated by the promise of a more televisual form of protest — the burning of about 200 copies of Islam’s holy book — national and international news crews and their satellite trucks are lined up on the lawn of the church Mr. Jones calls the Dove World Outreach Center. The video embedded at the top of this post, showing members of the church telling reporters from The Gainesville Sun that the newspaper’s unflattering coverage of the planned protest has cost them a prized camera position, gives a sense of the media frenzy and of how much attention the church is paying to what is being said about it.

Osama bin Laden is probably watching this all unfold with glee. Americans are now proving they’re extremist idiots on international TV. What more proof do Muslims need to hate us?

I guess there’s no law against televising an event that provokes a group the country is at war with. By allowing the event to be made public, Americans are sending a message that while they may disapprove of a Christian extremist provoking Muslims, they don’t disagree enough to not televise the event. It’s implicit cooperation with Jones’ cause, in a way. If we do televise this, and Muslims respond by burning a pile of Bibles or attacking us, and if media talking heads are surprised by the Muslim reaction, I’m going to bang my head against a wall. Hard.

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Written by Drea Knufken

Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.