Critics of the American media's coverage of the Quran-burning saga are loud and plentiful [glad I'm not hte only one], and they have a strong case [damn right we do]. In short, the U.S. media has given a global platform to a fringe pastor with a tiny flock, elevating him to a level of significance that would make most members of Congress jealous (whether or not he actually executes his plan). But those media critics are also missing the point.
To grasp the real story here, one has to understand the context in which Petraeus decided to weigh in: At that time, the Quran burning had already been treated as a major story in the media in the Muslim world for several weeks. In other words, since at least late July, when it started to get attention in some Muslim-majority countries, the story has been doing untold damage to America's reputation.
So there you have it: Muslim media were trotting out this otherwise irrelevant piece of human trash, and using him to incite hatred and shout down more sensible adult voices (like, you know, our President trying to patch things up with the Muslim world), before American media began doing the same thing for the same reason.
* For more on the Toon Tantrum, click here. Go down to "Priorities" at 01/24/06 and start reading from there. WARNING: This is an old blog post, and recently I've noticed Internet Explorer periodically freezing when I bring it up. There may be infestation. Or maybe I just have a lame PC.