American Media Self-Censorship

Monday, February 20th, 2006 1:55 pm by Neal

For the last couple of weeks, the elite, liberal, mainstream American media have claimed the high-road over their decisions not to publish the Muhammad Cartoons; however, at least one paper finally has shown the courage to admit what the rest of us know: They are not publishing the cartoons out of fear of reprisal from the Islamist terrorists.

Jeff Jacoby has the lowdown in his article, When fear cows the media, and the repercussions are chilling. Jacoby writes,

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. (The Phoenix was widely criticized, though not by me. I defended its actions in a column that concluded: “This is no time to be covering our eyes.”)

But the Phoenix isn’t publishing the Mohammed drawings, and on February 10, 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.”

He then goes on to detail other instances where newspapers have displayed and published offensive material when the offended groups were non-Muslim, but notes how these same papers are hiding behind tolerance and sensitivity (mushy liberal doublespeak) when in fact it is old-fashioned fear and intimidation that is behind their self-censorship. It is worth noting that it is precisely an attempt to explore the extent of such self-censorship in the face of Islamic threats of violence that prompted the Danish newspaper to publish the original cartoons in the first place!

So, go home tonight, turn on the television and bask in the light of censored news. Or, pick up an American paper tomorrow (perhaps it will be “all the news that’s fit to print”), read it from the headlines to the classifieds and pride yourself on being an informed, aware citizen of this free land.

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