Ignorance breeds intolerance; it’s just a shame to see the media fuelling it. The rapacious hounds of the tabloid press have played out the burn-the-Koran farce with their habitual feigned indignation, succeeding in whipping up a media tornado that serves only to fan the flames of hatred. A wisp of smoke billowing from a lonely Koran would hardly have changed the world. Yet as a media ruckus hysterically dramatises a non-event, we merely raise a plinth from which Pastor Jones’ contemptible preaching can reach a wider audience.

As Jones’ unsubstantiated claims are disseminated through every available media outlet, the delirious pastor’s formerly paltry throng of disciples swells. His insensitive intention to burn the holy text of Islam, as a commemoration of those killed on 9/11, instantly received ubiquitous airtime. Before the fire was senselessly transformed into an incandescent blaze, this bigot was simply an oddball preaching in a tucked-away corner of Gainesville, Florida. The media have successfully released him from the manacles of his own limitations, facilitating the spread of his reactionary message; the condemnation of a book “of the devil” which, incidentally, he hasn’t even read.

We have only the media to hold responsible. No sane individual would give two hoots about a lone preacher burning a book in the woods. All the media have achieved is to give Jones and his troupe of feckless fundamentalists the attention they crave. Isn’t it about time those in the media exercised some degree of moral responsibility? Jones and his ilk should be ignored, banished to the obscurity of some inconsequential video on YouTube. It was the media, not Pastor Jones, who ignited this fire. It’s time we put it out.