Thursday, February 16, 2006

Fear disguised as "sensitivity"

Raymond de Souza highlights the deception that most Western media are hiding behind in relation to the Muhammad cartoons:

Doug Kelly, the Post's editor-in-chief, told me flatly that his decision not to publish the cartoons to date was an editorial one, made on principle, not from fear of reprisals. He added that he would not publish an offensive image of Jesus in similar circumstances.

Given the Post's track record, that's credible. But what about other Canadian media, which have carried material offensive to, say, Christian sensibilities? Take, for example, Tony Burman, editor in chief of CBC news:

"We felt that we could easily describe the drawings in simple and clear English without actually showing them," he wrote. "This was intended, without embarrassment, as an act of respect not only for Islam but for all religions."

Is that plausible? CBC is not shy about news reports which show swastikas painted on Jewish institutions, or blasphemous "art" using Christian images. They cover those stories without asking, as Mr. Burman does, "Why should we insult and upset an important part of our audience for absolutely no public value? ... Where do we draw the line?"

It may be that the line is drawn where the fear exists that a firebomb might be thrown across it. It is implausible that the secularists who dominate elite media in Canada are suddenly concerned about respecting the Islamic prohibition on images of the Prophet.

If fear of reprisals is at work, let's be honest about it.

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If you’ll permit me, as a Dane I’ve been disappointed with American media during the cartoon conflict. Many big reputable European newspapers printed the cartoons while our embassies in the Middle East were burning, which was a most welcome support. The conflict has very little to do with religion, I think. Most likely, we were targeted for our high profile siding with the US in Iraq and the cartoons were easy to communicate to the illiterate masses by the fundamentalist leaders with the acceptance of the local regimes. It’s not that we expect anything in return from the freedom-fighting media of our brave ally except perhaps a little less cant.
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