The nut's guide to media attention

Want to make headlines? Do something nutty.

Better yet, say something nutty. And it would be particularly helpful if the nutty thing you said fed into all kinds of stereotypes about intolerant, uneducated hicks who live in the sticks.

Please allow me to introduce today's Exhibit A, a fellow by the name of Crockett Keller.

Here's the nutty thing that Keller said in a small-town Texas radio commercial advertising a state-certified concealed-handgun course he was teaching:

If you are a socialist liberal and/or voted for the current campaigner-in-chief, please do not take this class. You’ve already proven that you cannot make a knowledgeable and prudent decision as required under the law. Also, if you are a non-Christian Arab or Muslim, I will not teach you the class. Once again, with no shame, I am Crockett Keller.

As much as it sounds like a satire skit from "Saturday Night Live,"  Crockett Keller is an actual real, live human being. And over the last week, he's made real, live national headlines.

This line stuck out from The Associated Press coverage of Keller's remarks:

The Texas Council on American-Islamic Relations called the ad ugly rhetoric undeserving of media attention.

But media attention it received.

In case you didn't know Keller was nutty already, The New York Times drove home the point:

Mr. Keller, wearing a wide-brimmed cowboy hat and standing outside the truck parked behind his store, reached for the butt of the holstered gun he had been carrying in his hands as this reporter approached him. He said he had received death threats from callers and had been in contact with the Mason County Sheriff’s Department. “As you saw, I had my hand on my gun, and while I was doing that I was looking to see if you were armed,” he said.

Both AP and the Times seek reaction from Muslim leaders to Keller's ad.

Guess who's not quoted in either story? Christian leaders. Neither does either major media organization delve into Keller's own faith or even report whether he is (a) Christian and (b) attends any particular church. If he does belong to a specific congregation, what do the leaders there say about him and his ad? Is his statement in line with the message from the pulpit on Sundays, or is Keller facing scrutiny from his own?

Granted, maybe the reporters feared Keller would, um, practice his weapons training on them if they pushed him to answer such basic questions. From the Times:

“When you’re in Texas, No. 1, you don’t ask a guy how big his ranch is or how many cattle he runs,” Mr. Keller said. “You really don’t even ask him the name of his wife or his dog. Those are things that are really none of your business. You don’t ask him his religion nor do you ask him his politics. I don’t care what your religion, what your creed is. That makes no bearing. But when people consider themselves a particular religion that has proven itself to be anti-American, well, then, I’m anti-them.”

Still, if this story is indeed national news (count me in the skeptical corner), then the ghosts need to be explored. Nutty as they may be.

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