A Love Hate Thing for the Media

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

I have a love hate thing going with the media. As a former journalist, as a current PR professional and as a person who’s interested in what’s going on locally, nationally and internationally, the media plays a big role in my life. Generally, I can’t get enough of it. (Once a news junkie, always a news junkie – unless there’s a 12 step group I can join). But that doesn’t mean I always like it.

Case in point: I have been exasperated and, at times, even angered by the boatload of media coverage received by a Florida minister who threatened to burn the Quran. He leads a 50 person church and decides to do something outrageous and receives media coverage far in excess of what was warranted. In fact, I’m not sure any coverage was warranted for this big publicity stunt. Next thing you know, it sparks demonstrations, threatens the safety of our troops overseas, damages our country’s image, and has major world leaders personally phoning this minister and asking him to call it off. Even the Pope weighed in on it. The Pope? Really?!?!

Did it warrant all this attention? Was it necessary to give a worldwide platform to someone obviously filled with hatred and bigotry? And the more media coverage the minister received, the more outrageous his statements and sense of importance became. I’d say he got more than his 15 minutes of fame out of this one. I could have done without it.

For the most part, I love the way news is instantaneous these days, but there also needs to be a sense of responsibility about it and a way to put it into perspective. That didn’t happen this time around.

I’d love to hear what you think about the situation. Too much coverage? Not enough?