Muhammed cartoons

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on February 23, 2006

It's a rare day that you get conservative talk show host Bill Bennett and liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz agreeing on just about anything, but there's one subject that can bring even those two together -- criticizing the cowardly American media.

What has happened? To put it simply, radical Islamists have won a war of intimidation. They have cowed the major news media from showing these cartoons. The mainstream press has capitulated to the Islamists -- their threats more than their sensibilities. One did not see Catholics claiming the right to mayhem in the wake of the republished depiction of the Virgin Mary covered in cow dung, any more than one saw a rejuvenated Jewish Defense League take to the street or blow up an office when Ariel Sharon was depicted as Hitler or when the Israeli army was depicted as murdering the baby Jesus.

So far as we can tell, a new, twin policy from the mainstream media has been promulgated: (a) If a group is strong enough in its reaction to a story or caricature, the press will refrain from printing that story or caricature, and (b) if the group is pandered to by the mainstream media, the media then will go through elaborate contortions and defenses to justify its abdication of duty. At bottom, this is an unacceptable form of not-so-benign bigotry, representing a higher expectation from Christians and Jews than from Muslims.

The San Diego Union-Tribune is one of the vast majority of American newspapers who have failed in their public duty. The first excuse was "concern" for the Muslim community. The second excuse was that not enough people had died due to the cartoons for them to be newsworthy. At the time you had approximately two dozen dead from cartoon-related violence in Pakistan and Libya and another dozen in Nigeria. As of Thursday, the number dead in cartoon-inspired rioting and reprisals was up to 146. It makes you wonder if the "magic number" for publishing the cartoons is 150, or whether 200 deaths are needed.

The kicker on this whole issue is that Dershowitz and Bennett are right about the media's double standard -- and it might appear that they had timed the hypocrisy charge just right for the Union-Tribune. Why? Because on today's E4 of the Currents section, you had this article:

Page E4 of the Union-tribune

I'd expect the paper's phones to be ringing off the hooks at this blatant double-standard -- and as far as I've heard they are not. I'm not sure which concerns me more: the possibility that readers have come to expect this; or the possibility that no one cares.

3 comments on “Muhammed cartoons”

  1. Those that incite newspapers to print known inflamatory comments or art work are doing this country a disservice. How stupid are these people?

    There is a huge difference between news and art work. And a huge difference between keeping readers well-informed and printing inflamatory cartoons.

    Freedom of speech does NOT mean that you have to print everything that comes across your desk. A newspaper editor has the perfect right to pick and choose, especially when printing something that is not news and can cause explosive consequences and even more so when it is KNOWN to cause explosive consequences.

    Why don’t you instead complain about the media’s penchant to misinform the public by suppressing or delaying details about the graft and fraud and lying to the public that has been happening for years in Washington, D.C. and in the highest offices in the land?

    Why don’t you instead complain about the media’s twisting facts, suppressing news, and colluding with the Bush administration to trick the public into legislation that is debilitating to the health, safety, liberty, and economic welfare of American citizens for the benefit of the filthy-rich cronies and evil members of this administration?

    Obvious examples are the following disastrous bills:
    No Child Left Behind, Patriot Act, Medicare Rx, Bankruptcy Bill…
    aided into passage by media and propaganda paid for by this criminal administration with OUR tax dollars.

    And of course they are still hard at work, working to further bankrupt the country while throwing away billions to war profiteers, Katrina profiteers, oil barons. This criminal activity will not be addressed and stopped unless we can throw the thugs out. And so far, the overwhelming number of mass media outlets trail the news rather than lead. They are little more than cheerleaders for the Bush administration.

    Now THAT’s something to complain about.

  2. Intresting, on one hand you whine that the news shouldn't print things to infom becase it might inflame. Then you spend the next three paragraphs whining that the news isn't printing things to inform that might inflame. Indeed, I've seen this pattern before, your for it, before your against it. Sigh.

  3. [...] I’m probably one of the toughest bloggers out there on the mainstream media, even though I have a foot in both the MSM world (I work for the Union-Tribune) and the blogosphere, but this was a case of the Union-Tribune doing solid investigative reporting. Longtime readers of Hoystory will know that I’m no sycophant to the Union-Tribune or the major media. For example, I’ve harshly criticized the Union-Tribune’s coverage of the cartoon-insipired Muslim rioting (see here, here and here). But the credit for exposing Cunningham goes to the Union-Tribune and the Union-Tribune alone — you can find the paper’s extensive coverage here. [...]


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February 2006



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