Friday, March 17, 2006

The dog that isn't barking.

Something is funny about the church fires story from Alabama. The media is not acting the way is always does. If these three kids had been white Christians (or Muslims) there would be a firestorm (pardon the pun) of activity that would still be burning (pardon the pun) even weeks after the arrest.

The media always over-hypes with hypocrisy and hysteria "hate" stories. They become forums for the Anti-Defamaxtion League and the Southern Poverty Law Center to raise money and promote their agenda that white gentiles and Christians are dangerous, violent, angry, and illiterate. But on this story the media is acting strangely.

The media is being ridiculously low-key and non-judgemental about this. Not only do they explain the actions of DeBusk, Mosley, and Cloyd as "warped bravado," a night of drinking gone bad, or a "joke that went too far," but the arsonists themselves are all but lionized. The Birmingham News said "By all accounts, Matthew Lee Cloyd was a scholar - an intelligent boy with a bright future in medicine, just like his father. He graduated... with honors and several advanced placement courses under his belt. He was in the National Honor Society and inducted into Mu Alpha Theta math society his junior year. He was voted Most Outstanding Student in History and was a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions." USA Today quotes DeBusk's roommate with this "Russ is just a goofy, fun-loving guy, almost like a cartoon character," said Jeremy Burgess, 19, DeBusk's roommate. "He's always nice, respectful and hardworking. He studied more than I did."

Furthermore the fires hit only Baptist churches in a very religious part of the country where there are far more non-Baptist houses of worship.

All of these first in Baptist churches occured in a climate of an anti-Baptist hate campaign fueled by the Anti-Defamation League's Abraham Foxman whose recent writings have attacked the Southern Baptist Convention for trying to convert Jews.

All of this leaves the media and the authorities in as much a quandry as it does the three arsonists. The three arsonists should be facing serious legal consequences - many years in prison and ruined lives. If those young men are Jewish - they could escape this by fleeing to Israel - but that would be the last thing Israel would want right now.

They have been granted $50,000 bail but at the last minute the state of Alabama stepped in to say that if they were released on bond they would be immediately re-arrested on state charges.

I imagine this case will soon disappear from the media and memories. As so often happens these days - more so than when (the now forgotten) Marshall McLuhan popularized the phrase - the medium is the message.

But this story doesn't pass my smell test and I won't be forgetting it.


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