Skip to comments.Fear and Cowering in the Press (Must American media behave like scared kittens?)
Posted on 02/07/2006 9:10:14 PM PST by nickcarraway
How much of the American media's unwillingness to show the cartoon images of Islam's prophet has been out of respect for Islam, how much an inflated sense of political correctness, and how much out of sheer cowardice?
All of the evidence points to the latter. Time and again the American media has demonstrated its zero tolerance policy toward world religions, with one notable exception. Indeed, the press seems to enjoy goading and provoking Christians as much as the early Romans did. Granted, the Western press was for a time reluctant to portray Jews negatively in recompense for its silence during the Holocaust. But today one need only substitute the word "Israeli" or "Zionist" for Jew and it is again open season.
The Western media today mocks Catholics and Protestants with the regularity of a bass note in a Bach fugue, and it does so to boost its credibility as independent and enlightened, and because it has little to fear in return. The worst one can expect are a few letters to the editor, a scolding from Pat Robertson, or a poorly attended protest march, as when an art gallery exhibits photos of a crucifix submerged in urine, a portrait of a nude Jesus with an erection, or a "blasphemous" film like Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ debuts.
No major American or European newspaper that I am aware of has ever shied away from running editorial cartoons portraying Christian fundamentalists or Intelligent Design proponents as backward bumpkins. Jesus of Nazareth pops up frequently in editorial cartoons, as do pedophile priests, and gay-bashing pastors. Religious attacks are so common that readers would question the independence of newspapers if they suddenly refused to run, say, a pope cartoon. So it was curious to see the New York Times come out this week with its absurd comment that "news organizations...usually refrain from gratuitous assaults on religious symbols." The Times then ran an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer's editor Amanda Bennett in which she is quoted as saying, "There's been a whole history of newspapers publishing things that people would find controversial and offensive." The Inquirer is the only major American paper to reprint a Mohammed cartoon.
It is a fundamental Western tenet that no religion is above criticism and critique. And that includes Islam especially, often described as the world's dumbest religion. Not simply because of its base treatment of women, but because of its antipathy toward Western civilization and freedoms, and all in the name of Allah and his prophet. You want to talk about intolerance? The latter's words are often used to justify hatred, backwardness, repression and terror against Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Sunnis against Shias and vice versa. All of this should be great fodder for editorial cartoonists. And yet when it comes to Islam editorial departments have been self-censoring themselves for decades. Mostly out of fear. Here's a new definition of "futile": Trying to find an artist to illustrate a book on the prophet Mohammed.
Had the cartoons portrayed Mohammed raping a pig or something equally offensive, I, too, would have objected and denounced the newspapers as being unnecessarily childish and provocative, though I still would have defended their right to do so. But they did no such thing. The cartoons were truthful, at least as truthful as one can be in caricature. The worst of the drawings showed the prophet with a bomb for a cap, which seemed to say something about the link between Mohammed and his suicide bomber followers. It was as legitimate a criticism of Islam and its fanatical adherents that I have seen (particularly since you never see such things).
GRANTED THE MEDIA is right to be afraid. There have been riots, rampages, death threats, and bomb threats arriving daily at the offices of Jyllands-Posten. Editors remember all too well how filmmaker Theo van Gogh was brutally butchered in the streets of neighboring Holland, and how the novelist Salman Rushdie spent years in hiding. And there is the very real fear the editor might get fired, as happened at the French paper France Soir. Publishers have a duty to provide their employees with a safe environment, but certainly this can be accomplished without giving in to self-censorship.
It is discouraging to the see the media behaving like scared kittens. You expect that from diplomats and State Department types who make their living sucking up to foreign heads of state, but reporters and editors are traditionally folks who crave adventure, if not danger. The best journalists have been war correspondents at one time or other in their careers, because war makes for great stories, thus competition to cover one is understandably intense. Others, like the fearless Woodward and Bernstein, have taken on and brought down the most powerful leaders in the free world.
The one phrase that reappeared in the American media went something like this: "X newspaper has decided not to show the images out of respect for Islam." Now there was a phrase I hadn't come across before, and one strangely absent when Christianity is mocked. On Sunday I listened to Sam Donaldson sum up the left's position in his usual empty cliche-speak: "Yes, we have a right to blaspheme, but that doesn't make it right." Funny you never heard Sam resorting to such logic to denounce anti-Christian works. In those instances it was a matter of freedom of expression, of the artists' duty to provoke and shock his audience.
It is equally disturbing then to see a poll by CNN International in which 91 percent of a total of 301,574 online readers/viewers said newspapers were wrong to publish cartoon Mohammed. (We don't know what kind of response the question would have received on the American edition of CNN because there the poll question was the idiotic: Would you donate your face for a transplant? You can check the results yourself.) Apparently these internationales are unable to distinguish between legitimate "criticism of a belief system and slander against a people," to use Christopher Hitchens' phrase. In the interest of world peace, then, allow to provide an example: "Islam is the dumbest religion because it treats women like chattel," is an example of the first. "All Muslims are terrorists," is the second.
Far more heartening is an opinion poll that showed 79 percent of Danes think their government should not issue an apology, and 62 percent say Jyllands-Posten should not apologize (too late, too late).
As for J-P offending millions of people, well, what of it? The Western press offends millions of Christians all of the time. Don't Muslims deserve to be offended too? How long shall the Western press continue to give Muslims free conduct to spread their medieval superstitions unchallenged? Globalization is rapidly bringing the West and its freedoms into conflict with Islam and its intolerance. One side will have to give. So far it looks like the West is giving in willingly.
I haven't seen a single one of these cartoons yet.
Has a thread been posted on FreeRepublic showing them?
Nick, there is one word for this...
These media wimps are terrified of possible reprisals if they printed the cartoons.
Ironically, they support the U.S. losing the war on terror.
They have been posted on numberous FR threads and also links. I don't have one at this time but some threads have not only shown the original cartoons but a few that were drawn by FReepers!
Let's examine the truth about what has been done in the name of Islam, the peaceful religion:
Armenian Genocide - Muslims
Ambon Massacre - Muslims
Beslan School attack- Muslims
World Trade Center attacks (Twice) - Muslims
Pentagon attack - Muslims
Malcolm Kerr, Pres. American University, kidnapped & murdered - Muslims
Paul Johnson, kidnapper and beheaded - Muslims
Pan Am Flight 109 bombing - Muslims
Orly Airport attack - Muslims
Istanbul Airport attack - Muslims
Assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II - Muslim
Skyjack Sunday, 3 planes hijacked and blown up - Muslims
Planet Hollywood bombing in Cape Town - Muslims
La Belle nightclub bombing in Berlin - Muslims
AK-47 attack on CIA employees in Virginia - Muslim
Metro bombings in Paris (Twice) - Muslims
US Embassy bombing in Peru - Muslims
Russian Apartment Complex bombings - Muslims
Tunisian Synoqogue bombing - Muslim
Dagestan bombings - Muslims
US Consulate attack in Karachi - Muslims
North Ossetia Hospital attack - Muslims
Bombing of Mariott Hotel in Jakarta - Muslims
Australian Embassy bombing in Jakarta - Muslims
British Consulate and HSBC bombings - Istanbul - Muslims
Sudan Genocide - Muslims
US Embassies in Kenya & Tanzania attacks - Muslims USS Cole attack - Muslims
Nicholas Berg, kidnapped and beheaded - Muslims
Bali nightclub bombings - Muslims
Moscow subway bombings - Muslims
Twin bombings of Russian airliners - Muslims
Murder of Theo van Gogh - Muslims
Kidnapping of hundreds of civilians & beheadings of scores in the Philippines -
Luxor Attacks - Muslims
Attempted attack on Egyptian President Mubarak - Muslims
Lt. Col. W. Higgins, kidnapped & murdered - Muslims
US Embassy in Beirut attacks (Twice) - Muslims
French Embassy in Beirut attack - Muslims
Hijack of TWA Flight 847 - Muslims
Bombing of Jewish Cultural Center in Buenos Aires - Muslims
Moscow Opera House attack and hostage taking - Muslims
Bombings & Suicide attacks in Tashkent and Boukhara - Muslims
Marine Barracks attacks Beirut - Muslims
Egyptian Embassy attack in Pakistan - Muslims
Dhahran Housing Attack - Muslims
Thousands of beheadings in Algeria - Muslims
Madrid Train Bombing - Muslims
Suicide Bombers in Iraqi and Israel - Muslims
Margaret Hussan, kidnapped and murdered - Muslims
Daniel Pearl, kidnapped and beheaded - Muslims
Beheading of bound and defenseless noncombatants - Muslims
Sarajevo Market Massacre - Muslims
Modern Slave Trade in Africa - Muslims
Somnath Slaughter - Muslims
Taliban - executions of thousands and destruction of Afghan culture - Muslims
Enslavement and trade of Africans into Western Europe and Americas
Honor rapes and killings - Muslims
Oppression of women - Muslims
Oppression and suppression of other religions - Muslims
Jihad - Muslims
Fatwa - Muslims
Plus hundreds of other attacks, bombings, rapes and murders............
BS. There is plenty for us to gain and we have gained much already. The gain is this: Islam have exposed themselves to be the intolerant, violent cult they really are and many Europeans have listened up and responed to this message. Not the governments, but the people. This is a win for us and the more we publicise the cartoons the more the true nature of muslims will come out!
The more we bring out the more to kill.
How sweetly submissive of you.
So we should just "move along" and ignore the censorship the mullahs are achieving.
You're right, they are grinning...at discovering they have more power than they fantasized even in their most crazed delusions to manipulate perceptions not only among those who have surrendered their free will to Islam, but those in the rest of the world as well.
Where do we draw the line, if it isn't at allowing them to censure free speech? Once that has been surrendered, how long can it be before the rest of our freedoms are gone?
You worry about the mullahs' smiles. I think a higher priority is surrendering to them without a fight.
Good article. Christians may in general not be excessively noisy in opposition to Christian - bashing in the media; but IMO we do a pretty good job of voting with our feet, away from the MSM (and Hollyweird)
How is what I asked being submissive?
What you don`t get is that this whole thing is not about censorship, I mean, really, do you really think they give a hoot about that? No, its about recruiting more idiots to their cause.
The more we make a big deal out of this, the more we help them.
There are over 20 million Muslims in China alone. Are you going to kill them all?
What you don't get is that REGARDLESS of what their ambitions are, they are ACHIEVING the surrender of freedom of the press and freedom of speech.
What I do most certainly "get" is that is a very high price to pay, even for your clever strategy to keep them from meeting their recruitment goals.
What do we surrender next to appease them?
Maybe if we all become loyal Muslims post haste the recruiting of suicide bombers will cease all together!?
"In 1945, the anti-Nazi German pastor Martin Niemoller wrote the following:
"First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me."
Where do you fit in the above list? Ayaan Hirsi Ali is someone you need to read about, but I fear you are too afraid to read about real courage and Islam from a woman's point of view.
Another good article today by Dennis Prager. He started out his essay with the above quote. My, I hadn't thought about that quote since high school. May I add the phrase, "If not now when?"
I believe it is you who needs to "get real". The mullahs *do* care about continuance of freedom of speech. They care enough to wish to destroy it, else how could they wield the power they wish to wield? "Apostates", those who "fall away" from the mullahs vision of Islam, are executed regularly in Iran, and other places. Iran is most egregrious, as they use the barbarous Bronze Age form of execution known as "stoning" to put fear into those who have a vision other than theirs. If they didn't care about "free speech", then why would they go to those lengths?
It should not be necessary to "kill them all", in order to defeat this plague, but what will need to be done, is perhaps, horrific enough. But ignoring, and denigrating our heritage, in order to appease their goals, is *NOT* an option...
I don`t think that this flap over cartoons quite meets the level that Niemoller was talking about.
There is a difference between a free press and common sense.
Know you will duck this, but I`ll try anyway. What do think about the NYT`s publishing a story about the wire taps? Under some peoples opinion, they have the right to do that. Think it was a responsible thing to do?
Yeah, right, all the mullahs are really worried about free speech in the USA. The same guys probably stayed awake all night worrying about who was going to win the Super Bowl.
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