Words don’t kill people…

A modern Arabic Quran with Persian translation...
Image via Wikipedia

A provocative Forbes blog headline has stirred up some interesting discussion.

When Journalism 2.0 Kills

As a former journalist, I couldn’t help but read the piece. I found it quite disturbing, but not for reasons that had much to do with journalism.

Blogger Bercovici and others (here’s one example) blame a young stringer/reporter and Agence France-Presse for deaths that followed the publication of a news story.

The blame is misplaced. The news story did not cause riots and deaths any more than a story about a provocative work of art in Loveland, Colorado, was responsible for the destruction of the painting. The people who reacted badly to the news story caused the riots and deaths, just as the woman who read about the painting destroyed it because she believed God wanted her to do so.

The real ethical and moral offenses here?

Burning the Quran and responding to that reprehensible act with deadly violence.

As we all know, people kill people. Words don’t.

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