In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 13, 2006 / 15 Shevat, 5766

Prophet and loss: U.S. media's failure to print the Danish cartoons is craven

By Jack Kelly

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The New York Times had an editorial Tuesday on the controversy triggered by publication in a Danish newspaper of 12 caricatures of the prophet Mohammed.

"The New York Times and much of the rest of the nation's news media have reported on the cartoons but refrained from showing them," the editors said. "That seems a reasonable choice for news organizations that usually refrain from gratuitous assaults on religious symbols."

The next day, in a story on the reaction to the Mohammed cartoons, the Times republished, gratuitously, an image of a work of "art" portraying the Virgin Mary adorned with elephant dung. (The painting by Chris Ofili, "Holy Virgin Mary," was the subject of much controversy when displayed at the Brooklyn Museum in 1999.) In 1989, the Times was one of many newspapers that published an image of "Piss Christ," a photograph by artist Andres Serrano showing Christ on a crucifix submerged in a vat of urine.

Washington Post Executive Editor Len Downie told Editor & Publisher he wouldn't publish the Danish cartoons because of "general good taste." Had Mr. Downie developed his good taste a week earlier, the Post might not have published a Tom Toles editorial cartoon of a quadruple amputee soldier so vile all six members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wrote a letter to the editor protesting it.

Most in the news media don't mind offending people who express their outrage by writing letters to the editor. But when the offended threaten to cut off the editor's head, editors become more "culturally sensitive."

I wish Jyllands-Posten had not published the cartoons. Making fun of what many people believe to be sacred — be it cartoons of Mohammed, Piss Christ or dung Mary — crosses a line I think ought not to be crossed.

But Jyllands-Posten had a valid point to make. An author of a children's book about Mohammed couldn't find an artist willing to illustrate it. Jyllands-Posten wanted to see the extent to which artists were censoring themselves for fear of retaliation from Islamic radicals. It invited Danish editorial cartoonists to "draw Mohammed as they see him."

Threats of violence often produce the results desired. A Swedish company withdrew a textbook on religion because it contained illustrations of the Prophet. The illustrations were from 13th- and 14th-century Iraq and Persia (Iran), which indicates how phony this controversy is.

Jyllands-Posten published 12 illustrations in September 2005, under the headline "The Faces of Mohammed." There were no riots among the many Muslim residents in Denmark. The Egyptian newspaper Al Fager published some of them Oct. 17 (to illustrate an article criticizing them), and there was no rioting.

There is no injunction in the Koran forbidding depictions of Mohammed, wrote Amir Taheri in The Wall Street Journal, who then provided a lengthy list of pictures of the prophet painted by Muslim artists.

"We here in the Middle East have tons of jokes about Allah, the prophets and the angels that are way more offensive, funny and obscene than those poorly made cartoons, yet no one ever got shot for telling one of those jokes," said the Iraqi Web logger Omar.

Only extremist sects like the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia think any depiction of Mohammed is blasphemy. But this isn't reported much, because if it were, it would be clear the media's self censorship is motivated more by cowardice than by conviction.

"Let no one pretend that the reason for this censorship isn't fear," wrote Andrew Bolt in the Melbourne (Australia) Herald Sun.

Bowing to the demands of Islamic radicals undermines Muslim moderates, Mr. Bolt said.

"This refusal to publish does not represent the success of multiculturalism but its failure," he said. "Habits of free speech good enough for generations of Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jews are too much for Muslims whose anger scares even their leaders."

Media self-censorship deprives readers and viewers of information they need to understand the controversy, said law professor Alan Dershowitz.

"You can't have a story about a cartoon without seeing the cartoon," Mr. Dershowitz said. "In fact, when you see the cartoons ... they are mild in comparison to what's published every day in Islamic fundamentalist newspapers [about Christians and Jews]. ... So you have to see the cartoons to see how outrageous these attacks on the Danish embassies are."

"The point is not whether the cartoon is offensive or not," wrote Don Holland, editor of the Victorville (California) Daily Press, one of a handful of U.S. newspapers to publish the cartoons, in an editorial Wednesday. "The point is it is part of a worldwide news story."

The ultimate price tag for the cowardice and hypocrisy of our news media could be high, wrote Cinnamon Stillwell in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"When free speech is chipped away at in the name of avoiding offense, all else is soon forfeit," she said.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

Jack Kelly Archives

© 2006, Jack Kelly