European readers Brian A. and Kenneth M. have passed along links to an excellent interview with Alan Dershowitz that aired this week on Danish television. I don’t agree with much of what Dershowitz espouses, but on many crucial War on Terror-related issues he is dead-on–as he is here on the Cartoon Jihad and the craven media. I think his appearance dovetails nicely with the points I tried to make last night on Hannity and Colmes.
[Responding to a question about his reaction to the Danish embassy torchings:]
It’s great hypocrisy on the part of those doing the burning, because these are some of the same people who read voraciously much worse cartoons directed at Christians and Jews and Americans and Israel. Deeply, deeply, offensive anti-Christian and anti-Semitic cartoons are a staple out of Gaza every week, and suddenly, when Mohammed is offended, they’re prepared to burn down embassies and create this kind of havoc. It is extraordinary hypocrisy.
[On the American media's unwillingness to show the cartoons:]
…You can’t have a story about a cartoon without seeing the cartoon. In fact, when you see the cartoons published by the Danish newspapers, they are mild in comparison with what’s published every day in Islamic fundamentalists newspapers and in Syrian newspapers, in Egyptian newspapers, in Saudi Arabian newspapers. So you have to see the cartoon to get a sense of how outrageous these attacks on the Danish embassy [are] and the hypocrisy across the Middle East is.
[In response to a question seeking an explanation for the US media's decision not to publish the cartoons:]
…I was informed yesterday that Time magazine was seriously considering publishing the cartoons. That would take an act of courage.
CNN has shown no courage. It claims it won’t publish the cartoons because they’re offensive. But they have published previous cartoons that are offensive. The fact is, they’re frightened. The fact is, that this kind of religious and intellectual terrorism is working. It is persuading journalists who would otherwise cover this story with the cartoons to back away–not on ideological reasons or not for reasons of protecting or preserving integrity or anything of that kind, but out of physical and economic fear. This is economic, physical terrorism directed at journalists and it is working. They have succeeded in the United States. They have failed in parts of Europe, but they have succeeded in the United States.
…When the burning down of embassies and the fear of fatwas and physical and economic retaliation are what determines the policy, it means that the terrorists have won. And the United States and other European countries have a policy: Never give in to terrorism. Well, they’re now giving in to terrorism by not publishing these cartoons–not because they’re offensive, they publish plenty of offensive cartoons, but because they are frightened and because they lack the courage to confront this kind of terrorist threat.
Bravo, bravo. He gets it. If only more journalists could think as lucidly as Dershowitz does on this matter.
Editor and Publisher has a cowardly media round-up.
Jim Geraghty notes that the NYTimes still refuses to run the Danish cartoons, but resurrected and re-published the Virgin Mary in elephant dung photo from seven years ago.
Hand me the double-standard two-by-four.
Reader James H. e-mails:
I have just spent the last half hour speaking to various snotty “customer service” reps at the NY Slimes…ooops…I mean Times trying to file a complaint about the re-printing of the Virgin Mary dung picture. To be perfectly honest, I never read the garbage they print, I was just curious to see if they would lodge the complaint for me or if they were even interested in what I had to say.
Each customer service rep passed me off to another number or another web link or another person, but no one cared at all about hearing my complaint. Finally, the last person I spoke with, I was so frustrated that I just asked “Do you guys even want to hear my complaint?”. The young man said “No sir. Not really.” At that point I said thanks for your time and politely hung up.
I guess the Slimes is not interested in what the public has to say…
Let’s be honest about the current sudden new respect the antique media exhibit toward religion.
It is physical intimidation which is at the heart of the media’s new-found principle of tender sensitivity to the feelings of certain religious believers. The assassination of Theo Van Gogh sent a message loud and clear to everyone contemplating a critical look at Islam or Muhammad. For all their brave talk of speaking truth to power, most people in the media with established careers, families, and lives will sacrifice principle to save themselves from possible harm or death.
They are thus establishing a very clear set of guidelines for those who seek to govern the media portrayal of topics and people of keen sensitivity. Threaten to shoot, stab, burn, and terrorize those who displease you, and then back up the threat with actual violence, and you, too, can control the images the broad public sees. You can even constrain the asking of awkward questions about your cherished beliefs.
This is also known as handing power to the thugs among us.
Read the whole thing.
Also, Austin Bay’s must-read: Rushdie, Danish cartoons, and Information Warfare
Video: Breaking the taboo
American newspapers, will you please stand up?
Video: Cartoon jihad debate on Fox News
The cowardly American media (video added)
In search of a brave American newspaper
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Has Matt Damon eaten his shoe yet over his ‘never been in a public school’ claim about the Bush family?
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