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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Was “Burn a Koran” pastor arrested for child pornography?

The big buzz on the Internet today is the claim that Terry Jones of Dove World Outreach Center was arrested on charges of child pornography. True? False?

A little digging turns up no — zero — not one news story on the subject. No, in fact the story, repeated with glee across the blogosphere, can be traced back entirely to an anonymous August 4th posting on the Gainesville, Florida page of “Topix”. It reads:
Infamous Pastor Terry Jones, known for his activism against the mayor, and for his “Burn a Qur’an Day” has been arrested for possession of child pornography. Wednesday August 4, 2010 Pastor Terry Jones was arrested for sharing pictures of children in various states of nudity over the popular file sharing network Limewire.
A screenshot for your enjoyment (click any for a larger version):

So how did it get spread so far and wide? It was picked up on August 6 by an automated aggregator at NBC.com:

Thence it made the rounds to any number of blogs, aggregator sites, etc., all citing “nbc.com” as the source. Bloggers and commenters wax poetic about the irony.
Yesterday, it made it to Pak1stanFirst, posted as a letter to the editor, apparently by an overjoyed reader:
“They seek to mock Allah, but Allah mocks them” (Sura An-Nisa) See how Allah humiliated this man in front of his congregation and in front of the world just like he wished to mock Islam in front of the world. “They plan (plot) and Allah plans, and Allah is the best of planners”
infamous Pastor Terry Jones, known for his activism against the Gainesville Florida mayor, and for his “Burn a Koran Day” has been arrested for possession of child pornography. Wednesday August 4, 2010 Pastor Terry Jones was arrested for sharing pictures of children in various states of nudity over the popular file sharing network Limewire
Source :www.nbc.com

At this writing, there are 1.6M hits for “pastor terry jones child pornography” on Google. Of the first page, nearly all are simple reprints of the original anonymous posting.
NBC’s page now returns a 403 error. A search of Google News turns up . . . nothing. CNN, nothing. Fox News, nothing. Yahoo News, nothing.
Verdict: Confirmation bias. People saw what they wanted to believe, turned off their critical thinking capabilities, and spread a prank posting far and wide as fact.

Source: Secular News Daily

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