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February 08, 2006

Andrew Sullivan Makes Sense On Cartoon Violence And Media Cowardice

After noting a NYT critic calling the republishing of the "callous" cartoons a "cheap point" made by a "conservative" European newspaper, Sullivan wonders:

"Cheap points"? It's a "cheap point" to illustrate the climate of fear and intimidation that free artists and writers live under in Europe when tackling the issue of Islam. It's "cheap" after the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, and the police protection for many others, now including the editors of Jyllands-Posten. Choosing sides between those who would murder and kill and those who would simply draw and provoke is, for Michael Kimmelman "exasperating." After all, the newspaper that published them could be broadly described as "conservative". "Conservative" in a land where the welfare state is well to the left of America's Democratic party. The pusillanimity of the New York Times on this subject is another low-mark for the paper. They have the gall to run vicious commentary on images they will not publish. Below are two images: one of the Virgin Mary constructed out of dung and supported by public funding; and one of the "callous" Danish cartoons, that pokes fun at the newspaper that ran them. The NYT will publish one but not the other. They are not journalists. They are merely cowards.

The images he mentions are here.

The point is too obvious I don't even feel like commenting on it.

The New York Times: All the news that's fit to print, but won't unduly upset religious crazies who might burn down embassies.

Meanwhile, the entire editorial staff of the New York Press walks out after the owner spikes republishing the "callous" cartoons. The Editor-in-Chief explains:

New York Press, like so many other publications, has suborned its own professed principles. For all the talk of freedom of speech, only the New York Sun locally and two other papers nationally have mustered the minimal courage needed to print simple and not especially offensive editorial cartoons that have been used as a pretext for great and greatly menacing violence directed against journalists, cartoonists, humanitarian aid workers, diplomats and others who represent the basic values and obligations of Western civilization. Having been ordered at the 11th hour to pull the now-infamous Danish cartoons from an issue dedicated to them, the editorial group -- consisting of myself, managing editor Tim Marchman, arts editor Jonathan Leaf and one-man city hall bureau Azi Paybarah, chose instead to resign our positions.

Resign? That's different than a walk-out. Good on ya.

And Amir Teheri writes that Islam has generally allowed satire and irreverence. Until, at least, the maniacs took over.

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posted by Ace at 11:48 AM

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