Times Calls Koran-Threatening Rev. Terry Jones 'Fanatic' in News Story on Front Page

The Times found nothing unprofessional about calling controversial Koran-threatening pastor Terry Jones a "fanatic" on Saturday's front page in a dispatch from Damien Cave: "Gainesville, Aghast, Disavows Pastor's talk of Burning Koran."

Florida-based Cave quickly let us know that Gainesville, "educated and progressive, with a gay mayor and a City Commission made up entirely of Democrats," was a tolerant place despite the presence of Jones and his small church. Cave then slightly undermined the image of tolerance by quoting residents calling Jones a "lunatic" and a "weirdo."

But the people of this youthful city in central Florida are still dealing with the fallout and taking his actions personally, with anger and heartbreak, as one of their neighbors drags their hometown into nearly nonstop news coverage and infamy.

Gainesville, after all, is a university town that until a few months ago was best known for producing college football champions, Gatorade and rockers like Tom Petty.

Educated and progressive, with a gay mayor and a City Commission made up entirely of Democrats, Gainesville is a sprawling metropolis of 115,000 people where smoothie shops seem to outnumber gun shops.

Fanatics can come from anywhere, Gainesvillians will tell you, but why did this one have to come from here?

"He doesn't represent the community," said Larry Wilcox, 78, reading the newspaper at a local Panera restaurant. "This guy is obviously a publicity hound and a weirdo."

Cave then had the nerve to blame Jones for turning the Koran event into a "spectacle," as if the media played no role (the Times put Cave's story on the front page, suggesting it has no room to make such a complaint).

Before his announcement on Saturday, Mr. Jones again turned the lawn at Dove into a spectacle on Friday, featuring dozens of photographers and newly arrived supporters, including a former Marine in full camouflage holding an American flag and demanding an apology from Muslims for the Marine barracks bombing in 1983 that killed 241 service members in Beirut.