Freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of consistency

From whence cometh this sudden sensitivity and loath to offend? Why have news organizations which would normally publish pretty much anything which wasn’t illegal or patently untrue decided that restraint is the order of the day? Why the concern about Muslims when the feelings of other sects receive no such attention? Michelle Malkin’s article, with numerous links. Not suggesting that any media outlet go out of their way to upset a group of people, but I have no recall of this tiptoe activity in the past. Deference to one disparages the remainder, in this scenario.

I’ve started to develop a new philosophy that I think people should apply in situations like this. Here’s my new philosophy:

Lighten up.

To clarify, I think NBC, CNN, etc. should lighten up and show the cartoon, in the context of “The cartoon we’re about to show is controversial and potentially offensive. This network does not condone the views expressed by this cartoon.” I didn’t mean that the OP should lighten up, and I realized it might have come across that way.

Maybe because media outlets got so raked over the coals last year for allegedly kicking up an irresponsible and unnecessary shitstorm over anti-Islamic sacrilege issues?

Once bitten, twice shy?

I don’t believe that CNN is in the habit of showing patently racist or antisemitic cartoons either, and they sure as hell never say anything to offend Christians.

Freedom of the Press also means the freedom NOT to publish things and TV news is a business. They believe it’s better for their business not to offend segmnents of their audience unnecessarily. Funny how conservatives never get upset about the abject pandering to Christiams that permeates the media.

If it’s so important to you to publicize this cartoon, then buy your own news network.

Perhaps at least some of the media outlets rather not see their personnel working in Muslim lands being evicted at best and swinging from lampposts at worst?

I’m no supporter of pandering to any segment of the audience, Dio-and you’ve never seen one word of defense from me regarding asshats like Donald Wildmon and the AFA when they start arm-twisting over program content, so take that dog home, he won’t hunt.

So Christians just need to start stringing people up again and they won’t have to have to fight a “War Against Christianity”. Someone should send a pithy comment to O’reilly with that epiphany.

That’s pretty much what I said in one of the GD threads, and I think it’s the right thing to do, journalistically.

As to the OP: I’m not sure how much sense this will make, but I think we’re regrettably coming to the point where people just think that Muslims, or certain subsets of Muslims at least, are not held to the same standard of human behavior as the rest of us. It’s like they think these Muslims are temperamental, ill-behaved children. Instead of suggesting that they deal with it, as we would say to most American groups who are freaking out about almost anything, for example, people assume that Muslims will overreact and suggest we just tiptoe around that reaction.

I’m not speaking of anyone in particular here. Just commenting on an attitude that seems to have set in.

I’m rejecting the assertion that there’s any double standard.

I notice you used the word “patently” in there… just asking, but is that a response to the example I posted in the “political correctness” thread on this topic, where I showed that they did run an image that was allegedly racist? I’m not trying to be confrontational about it, but that seemed like it could indicate a double standard.

Michelle Malkin is an idiot.

She whines about Rolling Stone’s depiction of Kanye West as Christ, and seems to equate CNN’s reporting of this as some sort of slur on Christians. The CNN story she links to is simply straightforward reportage on the article and cover picture, completely understandable, especially since the article also contains information about West’s Grammy nominations, as well as the controversy he caused with his “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” comment.

As Jon Stewart pointed out on The Daily Show the other night, no-one who’s criticizing the Rolling Stone cover seemed to be very concerned when a white guy (Jim Caviezel) was portrayed as Christ on the cover of Time magazine. After all, i guess if it’s Mel Gibson’s version of Jesus, then it must be OK.

Further down the page, Malkin makes an idiotic connection between the policies of NBC news division and an upcoming plot of Will and Grace. For fuck’s sake, does it not occur to this idiotic woman that the type of thing that might be acceptable on a stupid comedy show are not the same things that might be considered appropriate content for a news service? And did she even stop to consider that the head of NBC news might not consult with the producers of Will and Grace (and vice versa) over what they should and should not show?

Personally, i think that the media is being over-sensitive in its decision not to show the cartoons in question, but Malkin’s critique has more holes in it than Jesus’s hands and feet.

I didn’t hear that. That’s pretty damned good! Although you suspect the different reactions were due to the apparently different intents of the photos.


And there’s no doubt that West and Rolling Stone were well aware of the reaction the picture might garner, and that there was some intent to provoke.

But it doesn’t add up, in my opinion, to some vast hypocrisy or anti-Christian conspiracy among the mainstream media, especially not those like CNN that are probably reporting on the Rolling Stone cover partly because of the controversy that it is causing.

Are you saying that CNN showing the cartoons would not have been straightforward reporting?


I’m simply arguing that the whole thing is not the anti-Christian, pro-Muslim conspiracy that Malkin seems to be suggesting.

There is also the question of how relevant certain images are to a story. By themselves, a few cartoons in a Danish newspaper that no-one in America (or hardly anyone) has ever heard of would not even rate a mention in the news, let alone a visual reproduction.

The only reason these cartoons became news at all was because of the reactions to them. Those reactions are, in my opinion, the main news story here, and reporting a story of strident over-reaction to free speech did not require reproducing the images themselves. The reaction, and not the cartoons, was the main story here.

As i said, i think that deliberately deciding not to show the cartoons in question was a rather pointless exercise, but i still think the reaction to this alleged inconsistency is overdrawn.

I have to wonder where you came up with this conclusion, but the story seemed pretty clear to me: if you’re not going to censor images potentially offensive to one religion, than you shouldn’t censor images potentially offensive to another. That’s a double standard. It makes perfect sense to me. The big question in this whole flap is how much legitimacy the back peddlers and apologists are giving to terrorist methods. I sense a large undercurrent of “We don’t dare offend Muslims because then some of them will likely attack us!”. Such an assumption is rude, racist, reinforces an negative stereotype and demeans Muslims. Unfortunately it is all too often true, and it also encourages terrorist attacks, or at least the threat of attacks, because it’s caving to what the terrorists want. The Muslim community itself needs to start condemning people who threaten to kill others because of a few stupid cartoons if they want to join the rest of the world as an equal, civilized partner. Now some do-but most do not.

There is no double standard. There was nothing offensive about the Kanye West picture. It was, after all, a picture of Kanye West, not Jesus. News organizations run all kinds of cartoons and other material which are critical of islam and could even be called offensive to Muslims. CNN simply felt that actually showing a cartoon depicting Mohammed as a terrorist was a line it was not willing to cross. It has not shown anything comparably offensive to Christians. There are degrees of insult, you know. I guarantee you, cartoon depicting Jesus himself blowing up an abortion clinic or a picture of the Pope molesting an altar boy would draw all kinds of violent protest, death threats, etc. from “the Christians.”

Who is backpeddling or apologizing for terrorists?

This has not been shown to be the case with CNN (and it’s awfully easy to be brave with other people’s lives, isn’t it?)


Once again, it has not been shown that CNN’s decision had anything to do with fear of violent reprisals from extremists.


Muslims are uncivilized? Nice.

I’d say that if Christians want to “join the civilized world” they ALSO need to start condemning those of their bretheren who threaten to kill judges and their families over decisions they don’t like, who shoot abortion doctors, who spew hatred against gay people, etc.

What’s that? Mainstream Christians DO condemn that stuff?

Well guess what, asshole. Mainstream Muslims do condemn terrorism and always have. Go find yourself a random Muslim on the street and ask him where terrorists go when they die. You might be surprised by the answer.

Dio, I’m not talking about the Muslim on the street, especially here in America or in the west. I am talking about the governments of Muslim countries. Where is the condemnation of terrorism from Iran? from Syria? From Saudi Arabia, Indonesia or Iraq? Where are the Imams and spiritual leaders? When you can give me more than a smattering of minor officials condemning terrorism as a tactic, then we’ll talk.

Oh, and much of the rest of my post was directed at the reactions of the EU and the press there. There have been apologies made for the cartoons there.

Well, as Diogenes has already pointed out, your logic only works if one believes that the image of Kanye West as Christ is actually as offensive as the image of Mohammed as a terrorist. This is obviously an issue on which people can differ, but just because CNN might differ from you on this matter does not make them guilty of double standards.

Do you seriously believe that a picture of West as Christ is equivalent, in terms of offensiveness, to the image of Mohammed as a terrorist? And if so, did you feel the same way when Jim Caviezel was depicted as Christ on Time magazine?

It is, of course, possible that this “undercurrent” you “sense” is merely a product of your own imagination, and that the “back peddlers” and “apologists” merely realized that, no matter what some Muslims do in the name of their faith, painting the central figure of that faith as a terrorist might have been a bit over the top.

As for “caving in to what the terrorists want,” well, if a simple avoidance of these sort of offensive cartoons might prevent some anger and hatred, and forestall some violence, then i say, “Why not?” We are, after all, being forced to live with a whole lot of other, much greater infringements on our liberty in the alleged name of security, so i don’t see that a decline in the number of cartoons portraying Mohammed as a terrorist is going to hurt very much.

I’ll repeat that i think CNN’s deliberate decision not to show the cartoon as part of a news report on its effects was silly. But i don’t think it’s part of some double standard.

Well, you say in your next post that you are talking here not about “the Muslim on the street” but about governments of Islamic countries.

But the topic of this thread is the American media, companies like CNN and NBC and Rolling Stone. The vast majority of American muslims—the muslims who watch the American media—do, in fact, condemn the sort of terrorism we’re talking about here, so why is it so wrong that a media outlet might want to spare those people a cartoon depicting the founder of their faith as a terrorist, especially when the publication of that cartoon doesn’t really add to the news value of the story in any appreciable way?