In “Too Cowardly To Print Muhammad Cartoons?” in PJ Media today, I discuss the latest developments in the ongoing slow suicide of the free press in the West:
The British Daily Mail recently posted a story about the French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo“˜s new comic book life of Muhammad; they illustrated the story with a photo of a man standing in front of the Charlie Hebdo
offices after Islamic jihadists had firebombed them. The man is holding
one of the earlier issues of the paper that featured cartoons of
Muhammad, but the Daily Mail pixelated out the image of Muhammad that was on the front cover of the paper the man was holding.
This is the suicide of the free press. The Daily Mail is
generally better than the other papers in Britain in covering the jihad
threat, but it is also careless, sensationalistic, and “” as this proves “”
execrably cowardly. The Daily Mail is hereby signaling that
violent intimidation works, and that all you have to do to get the
West’s vaunted “free press” to cower before you and give up its freedom
is lob a few bombs, kill a few innocents, and make a few threats.
The Daily Mail editors would probably protest that they
simply did not want to give needless offense to Muslim readers, and
certainly a case can be made for avoiding giving needless offense to
anyone’s religious sensibilities. But there is no way this argument can
be sustained in light of the obvious fact that no one in the mainstream
media is concerned about hurting the delicate sensibilities of
Christians or Jews by publishing images insulting to those religions;
indeed, such images are likely to get National Endowment for the Arts
awards and praise from the New York Times.
No, the sensitivity to offending Muslims on the part of the Daily Mail
and all the innumerable publications that didn’t run any of these
Muhammad images, despite their news value, even in pixelated form, is
wholly and solely due to the fact that when such images are published,
an uncomfortable number of Muslims tend to riot and kill in response.
But that is no reason for the Western press to go wobbly about the
freedom of speech; indeed, it is all the more reason for it not to do
The proper response to violent intimidation is not for its victims to
curtail their activities and to change their behavior. That only
encourages the bullies. The proper response is to stand up to them, show
them that they will not get their way, and do all one can to protect
those whom they may harm. This would show the world that the West will
not give up its principle of free speech, our foremost bulwark against
tyranny, and will stand for our principles against attempts to
intimidate us into enforcing Sharia blasphemy laws upon ourselves.
At the same time, however, the leader of the international Islamic
campaign against the freedom of speech, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu,
secretary-general of the 57-government Organization of Islamic
Cooperation, “urged all Muslims to exercise restraint in the face of
this incitement,” according to a report in Arab News.
“He reiterated the OIC”s principled position on developing an
international consensus on dealing with a frequency of deliberate acts
of incitement, within the framework of the Human Rights Council
Resolution 16/18.” In other words, don’t riot and kill this time, since
soon we will prevail upon dhimmi Western governments to outlaw criticism
of Islam. After all, the dhimmi press is already falling into line on
its own accord; how far away can ultimate victory really be?