Florida pastor Terry Jones's plan to burn Korans on Sept. 11 has spurred international condemnation, hundreds of protesters in Muslim nations, warnings from General David Petraeus that it will endanger U.S. troops, and a whole lot of U.S. media coverage. Which is probably why Slate's David Weigel describes his call for the media to "Ignore This Idiot" a "hopeless plea." But, futility aside, he makes his case that we're inadvertently helping Jones by giving him so much attention and that the best thing we can do is just ignore him as a lone, isolated wingnut.
Let's step away from the news cycle and realize the full stupidity of what he's doing. He has a church of, at most, 50 congregants. He decorates a bus with the message "International Burn A Koran Day" (the celebration will take three hours according to this sign). He waits for attention. He gets it! And he gets to hold the country, or at least the part of the country that pays attention to such news, hostage, with reporters getting the Secretary of State and our general in Afghanistan on the record to condemn this nobody. Instead of dying in obscurity, he'll die a has-been. Good work.
Weigel compares Terry Jones to "Rev. Fred Phelps, who has made a living and won international stardom by whisking his cult to military funerals which they protest with 'God Hates Fags' signs." He urges us not to over-react to Terry Jones or to Fred Phelps, warning of the dangers of stifling free speech as we simultaneously project the hate speech we should just ignore instead.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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