This Week’s Cartoon: “Media-Made News, Alternate Version”

I’m not one of those people who like to say, “Why is the news always so negative? Why can’t they report the GOOD news?” I can’t stand those people. News outlets must report unpleasant facts, for sure. But what I question about the case of pastor Terry Jones — who, as you may have heard, threatened to burn the Koran — is its newsworthiness. Had some major American political figure (Sarah Palin, anyone?) threatened to do that, I’d call it news. But some podunk preacher with a congregation of 50? Please. That’s a PR stunt, a “News of the Weird” story at best.

It’s important to remind ourselves that news doesn’t just happen; it gets created. Lots of things happen every day, and it’s the job of journalism to select what’s important. In the case of 24-hour cable news, controversy — especially of the “culture war” variety — will always trump stories about peace efforts. I used to do web work for a professor who ran a number of interfaith programs at the University of Virginia. (Yes, that page still bears my handiwork.) As far as I know, he hasn’t attained even a fraction of the celebrity as that nutball pastor.


  • Tom Schmidt

    Part of the media’s role is to get on the “muslims are evil” bandwagon. It’s good for ratings, and it pleases the establishment because it propagates the friction between those God-fearing American Christians and the evil-doer muslims. So of course when they heard about this clown burning Korans, they were salivating at the chance. The fact is, almost no one is stupid or crass enough to stage such an event, so they had to jump at the chance.

    In fact, forget the media. This clown got a phone call from Obama. The President of the friggin’ United States! What does that say about the state of the nation?

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.