Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Great Moments in American Journalism (Cowardice Edition)

Cartoonists around the world are reacting to the horrific terrorist attack on the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical weekly that dared to lampoon Islam (among other subjects).  For that high crime, ten members of the staff--and two unarmed French police officers--paid with their lives.

Over at National Review, Brendan Bordelon has a collection of cartoons in response to the slaughter.  As far as we can tell, only two are from American political cartoonists, Gary Varvel of the Indianapolis Star and Ann Telnaes of the Washington Post.  We'll assume others are being drawn and will appear in print and on-line in the coming hours.

But, sadly enough, the very moment which should unite everyone in defending the right of free expression has also brought displays of stunning cowardice.  Consider this photo that ran in the New York Daily News:   

You'll note that paper editors carefully pixelated images of a previous Charlie Hebdo cover that poked fun at Islam.  For that edition, published in 2011, the office of the French weekly were fire-bombed.  Mr. Charbonnier, the editor holding the "offensive" cover was among those killed today.  Asked about previous threats against him and the publication, Charbonnier said he would rather "live on his feet than die on his knees."

But not the folks at the Daily News; to avoid offending Muslim readers, editors obscured the offending cartoon.  Would they have done the same thing if the paper ridiculed Christianity, Judiaism, or any other religion?  The answer, quite obviously, is "no."  Only Islamic sensibilities influence editorial decisions at most American media outlets.  As Robert Spencer noted at Jihad Watch, American journalists are deluding themselves if they believe such policies would prevent similar attacks here at home:

Do these fools at the Daily News think that they will be spared? Do they think that if they adopt Sharia blasphemy laws forbidding mockery or criticism of Muhammad, that they will avoid the jihad onslaught? And if they adopt Sharia restrictions on freedom of expression of their own accord, does it even matter if they are spared?

The free press is dying of a self-inflicted wound. Now is the time for every newspaper in the world to republish Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of Muhammad, in solidarity with the jihad murder victims and as a show of defiance — a signal that we will protect free speech and free societies.

But this will not happen. Instead, watch for more pusillanimity, more temporizing, more denial that this had anything to do with Islam, and more calls for “respect” for “religious sensibilities” — i.e., the placement of Islam in a protected category, above criticism.

And sadly, the Daily News is not alone.  Fox News, MSNBC and CNN won't show the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, either.  To be fair, Fox briefly showed one of the images on its morning show before pulling the cartoons; CNN followed the brave lead of the Daily News in cropping out the "offensive" images and NBC News said its "standards" prevent the airing of cartoons or headlines that might be considered offensive.

What cowards.  More than one million Americans have died in defense of a constitution that guarantees freedom of the press and how does the present-day media repay that sacrifice?  By cowering in fear of savages who only believe in slavery, oppression and death for anyone who opposes their belief system.

Some things are worth dying for, including the First Amendment.  But you wouldn't know that from today's recreant display by the titans of American media.  The same group of spoiled hacks who race to collect the annual avalanche of journalism "awards" are afraid that Islamic fanatics will show up at their door to "avenge the prophet," so they hide behind "standards" that only apply to certain groups.  The infamous artwork "Piss Christ" was perfectly acceptable, because Christians don't come knocking with AK-47s and a hit list.  But Islam is off limits.  

Sad, utterly predictable and totally pathetic.

One final thought; this little blog generates about 25,000 page views a month.  That's not even a digital ripple compared to the traffic generated by websites of The New York Times, CNN, Fox News and the broadcast networks.  But we are willing to show one of the last cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo, because unlike our colleagues in the MSM, we believe freedom of expression is a sacred right.  If we're not willing to stand for that principle now, we should all be prepared to die on our knees.   

We encourage all bloggers--and everyone in social media--to stand with the brave men and women of a little French magazine--even if the media barons and their feckless minions won't.

"One hundred lashes if you don't die laughing"

Update//8 January/9:00 EST// Several publications, including the Washington Free Beacon and the Washington Post have published some of the "offensive" cartoons, in a show of solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, and to better explain the story.  

But not The New York Times; back in 1999, the paper expressed support for full "artistic freedom" when a Brooklyn museum opted to show Andres Serano's vulgar "Piss Christ."  More than a decade later, they criticized the film "Innocence of Muslims" for "damaging the interests of the United States" and its core principle of respecting all faiths.  Officially, the NYT says its "standards" prevent the publication of offensive images, or more correctly, images which offend particular groups who might show up at your newsroom and start shooting.

And if that's not bad enough, an editor at London's Financial Times actually blamed the victims, suggesting that his counterparts at Charlie Hebdo were "being stupid" by publishing the cartoons.  

An attack by Muslim terrorists against a French newspaper won't kill freedom of the press, but political correctness by media gate-keepers almost certainly will.    
Similar thoughts from Mark Hemingway at the Weekly Standard.  He sums it up nicely by describing our media as cowards.  Sadly, we can't disagree.     




Vigilis said...

In my entire life the most beautiful lesson I ever learned is that decisions made that consider fear are poor decisions. Almost inexplicably, decisions which disregard fear turn out very well in every respect.

The only sense I cam make from such apparent irony is that corruption, extortion and malevolent people are a widespread minority.

Enjoyed this post. You may appreciate Molten Eagle's response to the moronic terrorism in France (CBS Evening News @ 6:30pm EST reported one dead terrorist and two more captured):

Unknown said...

Not related to the subject of the post. The content and obliqueness is outstanding. No journalism, just reporting and common sense analysis. HOWEVER, I believe that the writers of this blog are less than 30 years old, have better than 20/20 vision and probably write all their stuff in a 6 point font and probably use a smart phone for editing. I am 62, wearing 2.2 magnifiers with my browser displaying 12 pt font at 125%. I can't see or read the quoted text. Help me. Use a large font. Please.

Old NFO said...

Actually Fox did show them on at least two of the nightly programs. But you're right in the main... sigh

Anonymous said...

Michael Mueller

Using your keyboard; press and hold the CTRL key and then press the '+' sign to scale the font up. To scale the font down, use the CTRL and the '-'.

This works on Firefox. I will check explorer.

And I don't think the 'writers of this blog' are <30.

Help yourself, sir. No one else will.

Mike Street Station said...

I think American media takes seriously President Obama's admonition that "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."