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BBC-NYT instigated furor

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict Criticizes Islam [in Regensburg]
in response to reader comment: The media and intellectual reaction to the Pope's comments have been revealing

Submitted by Pat (United States), Sep 20, 2006 at 11:57

The timeline of the coverage is also revealing. This one sentence in the pope's speech did nothing to excite the journalists who covered it. It wasn't even mentioned in the press the next day. On Sept. 14, two days after this "hate speech", the BBC ran a story under the headline Pope's speech stirs Muslim anger. This story only said that police in Kashmir had confiscated newspapers carrying coverage of the speech in order to "prevent tension". There was no quote from Kashmiri police. (Could there have been another reason these papers were seized?)

Only after this story was transmitted around the world did Muslim fury make itself felt. Later that same day the Guardian ran a similar story and the coverage of Muslim "outrage" began in earnest. Later the NY Times joined the fray and, as the "paper of record" in American journalism, its coverage dictates what most other journalists cover and what we see on television.

Toronto-based columnist David Warren points to the fact that now the coverage is all about Muslim rage and whether or not the pope has apologized. It's a high drama that has been concocted by the media, because the image of the cockfight is the one they know best. Television news gravitates toward drama rather than toward dry symposiums. Covering the pope's speech is no fun. Covering a demonstration, now that's something else. You have emotion and drama and it's good for the cameras.

I don't know who looks worse after reading this: Muslims who took the BBC's bait and reacted in predictable fashion or the journalists who deliberately stirred up trouble where no conflict existed.

http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/sep/06091805.html

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