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Sunlight - of a Different Kind


You've probably heard before that any publicity is good publicity. It's face time. It's exposure. You're now famous and important.

Tom Friedman has an article in NYT that suggests a quarterly Hatemongers list. His reasoning is that these hatemongers will then be exposed and scurry away like cockroaches.

The hate spreaders assume that they are talking only to their own, in their own language, and can get away with murder. When their words are spotlighted, they often feel pressure to retract, defend or explain them.
I get his reasoning, but I don't agree.

People go on Jerry Springer knowing that they will be ambushed and shamed and encouraged to expose themselves and their private life to the world, but they do it anyway. And that's just for the thrill of being momentarily famous.

The hatemongers among us believe what they believe to their core. If confronted, many of them will not back down, but see it as a test of their beliefs. Theo Van Gogh's killer recently expressed no remorse and insisted that he did the right thing. This he did under the spotlight of the world. But he didn't flinch. He didn't retract, defend, or explain away his actions. He had no remorse and instead said this:

"If I ever get free, I would do it again."
I think Friedman is a thoughtful guy, but he doesn't understand the enemy. The last thing we should do is give them publicity. A responsible media would give no time whatsoever to the killers in our midst. By doing so, it only emboldens others to copycat their acts, or makes others believe that their hatred is legitimate because it is shared.

It feels like Friedman wants something effective like America's Most Wanted. Only there is no jail at the end of the line for the hatemongers given facetime. Only massive media exposure. And with the right audience, any publicity for them would be good publicity. Which would be bad for the rest of us.


Tags: terrorism | media
by Brett Rogers, 7/22/2005 12:49:39 PM



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