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.
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.
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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!!