Five Ways How Not to Cover the Tiresome Westboro Church As It Protests Outside the West Blast Services
Westboro Church: Feel free to ignore.
The Westboro Baptist Church, that nutty band of protestors that has been besmirching the fine name of Westboro for decades now, is coming to Waco to protest outside the memorial service for victims of the West blast.
Why? That's one question you need never ask about the activities of Westboro and its founder, Fred Phelps. The church's tenets are a confusing mishmash of homophobia and publicity-seeking, and none of it makes any sense (The small central Texas town of West: Hotbed of gay marriage?)
But Westboro has announced they're coming to the service to protest. So how should they be covered by media? Five ways:
5. Don't cover them.
Rice University Owls Football vs. Prairie View A&M University Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 22, 2:30pm
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. UCF Knights Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 29, 11:00am
Rice University Owls Football vs. Florida Atlantic University Owls Football
TicketsSat., Nov. 5, 2:30pm
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Tulane University Football
TicketsSat., Nov. 12, 11:00am
Whatever you do, don't devote any airtime, newshole or bandwidth to -- d'oh!!! Damn you, Phelps!!
4. No, really, there's no need to cover them.
This is what they live for -- the cameras turning their way. They don't care if you paint them as loonies as long as you show them on TV waving a "God Hates Fags" sign. It's their oxygen.
3. If some hero decides to confront them, don't cover it.
See Number Four. Zombies are to brains as Westboro is to news coverage. If that includes some yahoo shouting "USA!! USA!!" while he tries to block Westboro's view of the proceedings, that's fine with them. Just be sure to focus in on the "God Hates Fags" sign, please.
2. This "church" consists of 40 members total.
If you have to cover them, you might mention their size. Their person-to-media coverage ratio is somewhere near Barack Obama's.
1. Just because one station turns their camera on them, it doesn't mean you have to.
Lord knows the media would never get into a pack mentality, worry about getting "beat" on something utterly inconsequential and -- d'oh!! Phelps, you win again!!
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.