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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad (Islamofascist) Wolf?

The Danish cartoon controversy brings up an interesting dilemma for the mainstream media. The press often goes out of its way to offend the sensibilities of Christians and Jews alike, arguing that publishing “offensive” material is either free speech, or a simple attempt to educate the public about some controversial matter. It is this sentiment that is expressed in such things as the “Piss Christ” exhibit, the dung on the Virgin Mary, or even the magazine cover image of Kanye West posing as Christ. Those things offend many Christians, but the media seldom cares about such offenses.

So why is that the case? I think the answer is a simple one. The mainstream media couldn’t care less about whom it offends. If offensive material draws viewers or readers, then that’s just the cost of doing business. In fact, the matter is more likely one of outright fear. What we have learned from this Danish cartoon fiasco is that radical Muslims, when duly incited, will react with anger and outright violence. This reaction has led to a handful of deaths and much destruction of property. Christians, on the other hand, when faced with similar circumstances, do such things as pen letters to the editor, or boycott specific products that endorse the periodicals in question.

As such, it is not the desire not to offend that drives the self-censorship, but the single fear of retribution, that an Islamic cleric in some faraway place will issue a fatwa of death and destruction regarding anything associated with them, the media. The same media that wears free speech issues as a badge of honor cowers in fear when threatened with violence.

Perhaps this matter will lead to a more consistent editorial policy, where either religious groups will be equally offended, or items which offend will be completely disregarded in consideration of such offense. The former would be a victory for free speech. The latter would be unfortunate.

Neither though is the likely outcome. More likely, the mainstream media will continue to fancy itself as the torchbearer for the first amendment, while in reality, it will allow itself to be censored not by a responsible editorial policy, but by a violent Islamic insurgency led by religious radicals who will stop at nothing until their vision of global religious oppression is realized.


.: posted by Dave 5:04 PM

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