Sunday, February 19, 2006

Fear not those who argue but those who dodge*

Jeff Jacoby in today’s Boston Globe.
When fear cows the media

THE PHOENIX is Boston's leading ''alternative" newspaper, the kind of brash, pull-no-punches weekly that might have been expected to print without hesitation the Mohammed cartoons that Islamists have been using to incite rage and riots across the Muslim world. Its willingness to push the envelope was memorably demonstrated in 2002, when it broke with most media to publish a grisly photograph of Daniel Pearl's severed head, and supplied a link on its website to the sickening video of the Wall Street Journal reporter's beheading.

But the Phoenix isn't publishing the Mohammed drawings, and in a brutally candid editorial it explained why.

''Our primary reason," the editors confessed, is ''fear of retaliation from . . . bloodthirsty Islamists who seek to impose their will on those who do not believe as they do . . . Simply stated, we are being terrorized, and . . . could not in good conscience place the men and women who work at the Phoenix and its related companies in physical jeopardy. As we feel forced, literally, to bend to maniacal pressure, this may be the darkest moment in our 40-year-publishing history…"

Rationalizations notwithstanding, the refusal of the US media to show the images at the heart of one of the most urgent stories of the day is not about restraint and good taste. It's about fear. Editors and publishers are afraid the thugs will target them as they targeted Danny Pearl and Theo van Gogh; afraid the mob will firebomb their newsrooms as it has firebombed Danish embassies. ''We will not accept less than severing the heads of those responsible," an imam in Gaza preaches. ''Whoever insults a prophet, kill him," reads the sign carried by a demonstrator in London. Those are not figures of speech but deadly threats, and American newspapers and networks are intimidated…
* - Marie Ebner von Eschenbach, Aphorisms, 1905

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can go with "Whoever insults a prophet, kill him..." Islam has declared Jesus to not be the resurrected Son of God...that's obviously a major insult to someone they consider a "prophet"...so now we're entitled under the Koran to kill all Moslems? That's the kind of logic they use... that and "Death to all those who call us violent"...

Infantile, primitive, wicked and deadly.

2/20/2006 3:46 PM  

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