Quran burning cancelled as some media pull back

The Rev. Terry Jones cancelled his planned burning of the Quran as international outrage against the proposed action mounted and some media outlets announced that they would not cover the burning of Islam's sacred book. (See "Fox News says it will not cover Quran burning" here.)

Jones, the leader of a congregation of 50 members in Gainseville, Florida, said he was cancelling the planned protest because the Iman of a proposed mosque near ground zero in New York City agreed to build the contoversial structure elsewhere. But no such agreement could be immediately confirmed, according to USA Today. Read that here.

Who knows how the mind of someone who could conceive of an act like the Quran burning works, but you have to wonder if the hard line taken by Fox News that it would cover no aspect of his planned event on Saturday didn't contribute to the pastor's decision. I am only half kidding when I reference Lyndon Johnson's lament in 1968 after he watched CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite criticize the American war effort in Vietnam: "That's it. If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America."

I wonder if Pastor Jones was thinking, "Without Fox News there to cover it, what's the point?" Or, "If I lost Fox News ..."

Like I said, I am only half kidding.

And I am totally serious about this: You have to give Fox News and the Associated Press credit for making a clean call in their plans for Saturday coverage. Both had thought out their positions and articulated them clearly. And Michael Clemente, Fox News senior vice president, minced no words in his interview with me in marginalizing Jones for his proposed actions.

I can't wait to get this case study before my students in media ethics at Goucher College.

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