It's bizarre watching this saga of threatened mass Koran-burning on 9/11 unfold. As I write this, it could still happen - again. The meta story from the NYT does not seem to me to be a massive indictment of the media. Stunts get covered all the time - with little attention. Think of Fred Phelps, a truly marginal figure whose outrageous stunts against gay people and military funerals have been extensively covered for years. What seems to me to have given this latest excrescence greater exposure was the context of the engineered controversy over the Cordoba mosque in the Park51. Islamists abroad - much more numerous but just as fanatical as the fringe Christianists - did the rest.
We live in an era of religious fundamentalism and fanaticism, exploited, used and manipulated by politicians, for their own purposes, and used by the media for its own. This has always been a dangerous and toxic combination, inimical to liberal society, dangerous to secular democratic politics, and today, something that can also lead to global warfare and destruction on an unimaginable scale. This blog has long warned of its dangers and consequences - and yet the role of religious fanaticism in politics only seems to grow, thanks to cynical Republicans and weak-kneed Democrats.