Media Admit: No Cartoons Because Fearful of Islamists

April 23, 2006, 10:47 pm


by Daniel Pipes*
* Cross-posted with permission

When asked why they did not publish the Danish cartoons of Muhammad, American media offered many high-minded reasons about mutual respect and the like, all of which begged the question why many of the same editors and producers thought it just fine to insult Jesus. But two outlets have come clean, admitting their intimidation.

First, the Boston Phoenix, a weekly, on Feb. 10, 2006, which listed the following as the first of three reasons not to publish the cartoons:

fear of retaliation from the international brotherhood of radical and bloodthirsty Islamists who seek to impose their will on those who do not believe as they do. This is, frankly, our primary reason for not publishing any of the images in question. Simply stated, we are being terrorized, and as deeply as we believe in the principles of free speech and a free press, we could not in good conscience place the men and women who work at the Phoenix and its related companies in physical jeopardy. As we feel forced, literally, to bend to maniacal pressure, this may be the darkest moment in our 40-year publishing history.

(A day later, Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times quoted the Phoenix argument approvingly and added that “There is something wonderfully clarifying about honesty.”)

Second, the Comedy Central channel, in a generic letter sent to viewers who complained that an image of the Muhammad cartoons had been deleted from “South Park” (to get the details on this complex episode, see Michelle Malkin’s coverage):

Comedy Central’s belief in the First Amendment has not wavered, despite our decision not to air an image of Muhammad. Our decision was made not to mute the voices of Trey and Matt or because we value one religion over any other. This decision was based solely on concern for public safety in light of recent world events.

For good measure, Borders Books also admitted its fears when it refused to sell an issue of the magazine Free Inquiry: “For us, the safety and security of our customers and employees is a top priority, and we believe that carrying this issue could challenge that priority,” said Borders Group Inc. spokeswoman Beth Bingham.

Comment: Admitting to intimidation is not good, but it beats denial. (April 20, 2006)

Stock Photos from 123RF

Related: Arab/Muslim World, Islam, Media/Blogsphere, Political Correctness

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