Cartoons Strike Blow to Free Press

Shortly after the Danish cartoon story broke several weeks ago, I noticed something strange about the press coverage. As I read a number of news articles, opinion columns and other pieces, and watched various broadcast and cable news segments, not once, as a reader or a viewer, was I actually provided the images that were at the center of the story.

As a Western observer attempting to gather relevant information and interpret the string of events following the cartoons’ original publication in the Dutch newspaper Jyllands-Posten, I was at first perplexed, and then frustrated by this lack of vital information. Finally, after many fruitless searches, I found Robert Spencer‘s column, “Cartoon Rage Grows Worldwide, alongside which HUMAN EVENTS also ran the original cartoon images.

My near delight in finally discovering the source of this latest flash of consternation in the Islamic world was not rooted in personal affinity toward the views of the artist, or an interest in offending religious Muslims for the sole purpose of testing our ability to exercise our free speech rights at a moment when they were under fire. Rather I celebrated the work of a modest faction of principled voices in the press, without which free Americans would be fully restricted in the information available to them as a result of the mainstream media’s decision to bow to fascist, Islamist thugs who will not stop their Jihad until every one of us is a Muslim, or subjugated to Islamic rule.

I immediately recommended to friends that if they were interested in seeing what ignited riots in the streets of Arab capitals, they take a look at the cartoons — and then provide them to any other individual with a thoughtful interest in seeing what had been censored. I am not aware of a Western government forcefully prohibiting private media from republishing the cartoons, so perhaps “media blackout” is a more accurate term than “censor.” Many state media, however, such as National Public Radio (on its website), are standing by editorial decisions not to publish the images.

The decision to not offer news consumers information at the heart of the controversy represented for many a unique combination of moral hypocrisy and journalistic cowardice. In another recent article published by HUMAN EVENTS, conservative columnist Ann Coulter perfectly exposes a bit of the ridiculousness in such rationale:

Two days after the Times editorial page justified its decision not to reprint the cartoons as ‘a reasonable choice for news organizations that usually refrain from gratuitous assaults on religious symbols, especially since the cartoons are so easy to describe in words,’ the Times ran a photo of the Virgin Mary covered in cutouts from pornographic magazines and cow dung — which I seem to have just described using a handful of common words! Gee, that was easy!

There are reasons why a media outlet might not show the cartoons, but I can’t think of any good ones. As Muslims (yes, I know, “not all!”) around the world continue to erupt in murderous protest in response to one man’s political speech, it is important to remember that as Americans, we have been blessed with liberty, worth cherishing it in all its forms — economic, religious, political, et cetera. These are freedoms which distinguish us from our enemies. Should we practice and protect them with zeal, undeterred by fascist tantrums or worse, it will never be said that against the United States of America, terrorism works.

Below are the cartoons published in Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten. Click each image to enlarge.

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