Today in Crikey, Guy Rundle writes:
Tony Blair, the holy fool of the decade, has recently been prating on about the need for “pre-emptive politics because the world is so interconnected” apparently not realising that it is that interconnectedness that would make a fringe-pastor’s Koran-burning in regional Florida (he’s had a change of mind) into an actual military event in that nation’s war.
As President Obama stares down the imminent mid-terms, he’s currently locked in the reality that in this increasingly interconnected world, there’s no such thing as local politics. The President confronts this conundrum more than most world leaders. The divide in his country post-GFC is perhaps more palpable than when he rose to make his Red State Blue State speech in 2004.
This is, after all, a country where more than a quarter of the public (according to an August CNN poll) have doubts about their President’s citizenship. A country that recently witnessed tens of thousands of people turn up to a rally headed by a man who is now, along with Sarah Palin, charging $200 a pop for VIP seats to their Anchorage, Alaska 9/11 memorial event (complete with “wet” and “dry” sections.)
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And so, in a country decimated by unemployment, we are witnessing the latest rage to dominate the headlines.
The proposed site for a mosque, located near Ground Zero, is, by most accounts, not a contentious idea among native New Yorkers. It has, however, managed to enrage sizeable sections of the rest of the country. And now, a crackpot pastor, who heads a congregation of all of 30 people, has managed to ignite a rage that has burnt its way all the way to the streets of Kabul.
There’s been a lot of hand wringing over the role that our media played in the lacklustre election campaign just passed. But how will the US press meet the challenge of covering the contentious mid-terms, in a country where tax reform, health care and climate change can get forced down the list by a group of New York Muslims wanting to build a prayer centre?
Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who came up with the winning plan to burn copies of the Koran on September 11, announced our time this morning that he had cancelled his demonstration because the owners of the mosque had agreed to move the site. In what was already a farce, the Imam denied Jones’ claim, and as we go to press, Jones is now claiming that he’s “re-thinking” calling off the burning.
A media machine that ensures that this man can dominate the front pages surely has something to answer for.