Sunday, April 3, 2011

The denial of oxygen

Mrs Thatcher of troubled past memory once sought to deny the oxygen of publicity to Republican groups in Ireland who were committing acts of terror both in Northern Ireland and in mainland Great Britain arguing that an essential element to the hoped for success of their campaign was the publicity they received. The only problem with this approach is that those groups represented both wide constituencies and an historic grievance. A reality that ought to be legitimately reported on by the media.

I was reminded of this by the actions of Terry Jones because, by contrast, he is a person who might benefit from being deprived of the oxygen of publicity.  Since he represents no one - his purported church appears to have no more than a hundred members; has no recognizable grievance with Islam: and, has no creditable criticism of Islam (that would warrant anyone listening to him beyond his local bar stool).

Yet his actions have been given extensive coverage that has given rise now to real harm. He has achieved what he has appeared to want: he has become a 'real story' and as a result people have tragically lost their lives.

I hope those who created this non-story are feeling appropriately contrite though I doubt it.

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