[…] Surely, you say, American journalists and media moguls — always staunch defenders of the First Amendment — are proclaiming outrage and rallying round this young woman? On the contrary. The media have largely been silent about her nightmarish plight.
When the Washington Examiner, an on-line newspaper in Washington, D.C., asked the American Society of News Editors for a statement about Norris, none was forthcoming. Ditto for the Society of Professional Journalists. This, despite the fact that the editors group’s mission statement extols “the First Amendment at home and free speech around the world,” while the journalists claim to stand for “the perpetuation of the free press as the cornerstone of our nation and liberty.”
Principle and backbone were more in evidence back in 1989, when Iran’s radical Ayatollah Khomeini launched the current drive to extend Islamic law to the West. After Khomeini accused British novelist Salman Rushdie of blasphemy in “The Satanic Verses” and called for his death, the U.S. Senate unanimously resolved “to protect the right of any person to write, publish, sell, buy and read books without fear of violence.”
But since 9/11, American media have increasingly caved to threats from radical Islam. The new norm is a self-censorship consistent with Muslim teaching that Islam must be free from insult, though other religions may be insulted at all times.