The Continuing Cowardice of Western Media

Posted on 2011/11/02

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Feature Image - The Continuing Cowardice of the Western Media

Today, we hear of the threatening of an editor, hacking of a website and burning of the offices of a French satirical magazine.  Reading the Islamic threats on the magazine’s social media pages, it is likely to be an response to its recent depiction of Mohammed.

Here is the cover of their recent issue of the magazine in question, Charlie Hebdo:

The caption reads “100 lashes if you are not dying of laughter”.

Inside, there are satirical articles and cartoons concerning the rise of Islamic political parties in the wake of the Arab Spring.

This article will be one of the few places you will find an image of the magazines cover in an English speaking country.  To compare, I have compiled a short table of the coverage in some major western media networks:

 Country  Network  Quotes
 USA  Washington Post  Quotes caption only.
 USA  New York Times  Quotes caption only.
 USA  Wall street Journal  Quotes caption only.
 USA  CNN   Quotes caption only.
 USA  Fox  Quotes caption only.
 USA  MSNBC  Quotes caption only.
UK  BBC  Video report shows a rolled up magazine displaying the title, but not the cover picture.  Quotes caption only.
 UK  Metro  Picture of the editor holding his magazine.  Cover cartoon shown.
 UK  Daily Mail  Quotes caption only.
 UK  Telegraph  Quotes caption only.
 UK  Guardian  Quotes caption only.
 France  le Figaro  Quotes no part of the magazine.
France  Le Monde  Describes: A double page is devoted to cartoons ”soft sharia” and another entitled “Sharia Madame” , the plight of women.  This is in reference to the Sharia law proposed in Lybia and a mock fashion magazine article of veils.  Two images of the cover cartoon displayed.
 Germany  Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung  Cover cartoon shown. 
 Germany  Süddeutsche Zeitung  Quotes caption only, with additional caption ”Islam is compatible with the humor.”
 Italy  la Repubblica  Picture of the editor holding his magazine.  Cover cartoon shown.
 Italy  Corriere della Sera Displays the middle spread of cartoons (not distinguishable in the image).  Cover cartoon shown on Charlie Hebdo’s Facbook page.
 Spain ABC Cover cartoon shown and back page cartoons.

Today in England, you have to turn to the pages of the humble free newspaper The Metro to find the only mainstream media’s reproduction of the image.  Continental Europe is slightly more willing, with about half of their newspapers using the image in their articles.  None of the US papers printed the image.

Let’s not pretend that this has anything to do with wishing to not offend Muslims.  In the same articles, there are quotes of condemnation for the attack, and platitudes about freedom of speech and information.  Yet, why not show us what exactly is supposed to be the motivation for this Islamic anger?

Quite simply, it is fear.  These are the same networks who have no trouble showing us images of the beating and killing of Gaddafi, justifying the grotesque display with the same aforementioned freedom of information.  But, it seems that while beating someone to death cannot be described with words alone, words are more than enough when it is an image at the centre of the story.

We have of course seen this before with the the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten publishing a series of cartoons satirizing the Islamic prophet. As now, none of the above organizations published the cartoons.  Indeed, it was only Charlie Hebdo in France, and Skeptic in the US who were brave enough to republish the images, receiving threats from Muslims and criticism from non-Muslims in the process.

Islamic fascist will not stop believing that violence is an appropriate response to what they see as blasphemy.  They will not stop being offended by what we do and say, if we choose to continue to live with liberty and free expression.

To give a glimpse of what you might want to protect, the Taliban outlawed the following things when they imposed Sharia Law in Afganistan:  the employment and education of women; cinematography; musical instruments and recording media; alcohol; computers; VCRs; television; anything that propagates sex; alcohol; and pictures.

While this might be a strict interpretation of this bronze age prohibitory list, a significant proportion of Muslims hold to the basic tenants.   This includes death or severe punishments for: apostates, adulterers, the use of alcohol, theft, and blasphemy.  Most polls find that a significant proportion of British Muslims have no idea what constitutes a secular democracy, with around one third wanting this Sharia Law imposed in the UK.

How many more times must this industry have its workers threatened or killed, or its offices burned before it stands up for the freedoms it so frequently profits from?  If fear prevents them from upholding western secularism on moral grounds, they will eventually be forced to protect it for reasons of self preservation.  If threats, murder and arson aren’t persuasive enough, at what cost will this realization be made?