In a bold move that is likely to be much discussed in coming days, Fox News said today that it will not cover the burning of the Quran on Saturday if Pastor Terry Jones follows through on his plan to burn copies of Islam's sacred book.
The proposed book burning by the Florida minister and his congregation has become a topic of heated conversation and coverage, with everyone from President Barack Obama to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and two generals weighing in. One of the military men, Gen. Ray Ordierno, former commander in Iraq, says he fears that the burning will inflame passions abroad to the point where the safety and lives of American servicemen and servicewomen will be threatened.
So far, such TV news operations as CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS have told TVNewser they will cover the Quran burning as they would any other news story.
Fox News is the only one so far to say it will not. It did so in an interview Thursday with The Baltimore Sun.
"We do not cover every flag burning that happens in this country. We don't run every hostage tape," Michael Clemente, senior vice president at Fox News, said in a phone interview. "If we tried to cover everyone who wants us to stick a camera in front of them, we'd run out of cameras pretty fast each day. But this is really about just using some judgment."
(Photo Michael Clemente courtesy of Fox News)
Clemente summarized that judgment by saying: "He's one guy in the middle of the woods with 50 people in his congregation who's decided to try, I gather, to bring some attention to himself by saying he's going to burn a Quran if he gets the permit. Well, you know what, there are many more important things going on in the world than that. I don't know what they will be this weekend, but I am sure they will be more important than that."
Clemente said there will be no live coverage, "video" or "still pictures." He was unequivocal in saying Fox News will not cover the burning or the event.
AP has said it will not distribute audio or video of the actual burning if it takes place. Read that here on The Hill.