Wednesday, January 7, 2015

So Much for Being Guardians of the First Amendment

The Mainstream Media loves to trumpet the trope that they are Guardians of First Amendment rights for Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press.  However, the timorous self-censoring displayed by major media outlets in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terror attack in Paris exposes this ideal as an intellectual chimera.

CNN Senior Editorial Director Richard Griffin issued an internal memo which dictated that the media outlet not show images that could be considered offensive to Muslims.  The Politico released Griffin's email:

Although we are not at this time showing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Prophet considered offensive by many Muslims, platforms are encouraged to verbally describe the cartoons in detail. This is key to understanding the nature of the attack on the magazine and the tension between free expression and respect for religion. 
Video or stills of street protests showing Parisians holding up copies of the offensive cartoons, if shot wide, are also OK. Avoid close-ups of the cartoons that make them clearly legible.
It's also OK to show most of the protest cartoons making the rounds online, though care should be taken to avoid examples that include within them detailed depictions of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.
NBC News mimicked this tact by guiding their outlets to neither show headlines nor cartoons which could be deemed insensitive or offensive.

In the print medium, the Associated Press applied an internal policy of "not moving deliberately provocative images" so it removed Charlie Hebdo images from their database. However, it only took the Associate Press 27 years and an embarrassing exposure by the Washington Examiner for the same standard to be applied to Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ" (1987).   Was this because a crucifix dipped in urine and displayed as art is not deliberately provocative? Do elitist editors think that anti-Christian imagery is not provocative but that they dare not offend adherents to the Prophet Mohammad?  Or does publishing some provocative pictures might put their lives on the line by radical terrorists?

The New York Daily News covered the source material which provoked these three Islamic terrorists to assassinate twelve French citizens by pixillating the Prophet Mohammad's image.

Stephane Charbonnier posing with satirical cover pixillated in NY Daily News {photo FRED DUFOUR/AFP}

As Mark Steyn remarked, the New York Daily News put Mohammad in the witness protection program with their editorial sensitivity, yet the editors did not obscure the hook nose caricature of a Jew which shared the frame. So much for sensitivity or avoiding provocative pictures.

It is galling that the media outlets are proud as a peacock as being protectors of Free Speech while acting in a duplicitous and cowardly manner.  While these Charlie Hedbo pictures are provocative, they are no longer a polemic point of view but now are a news story. None the less, the major media acts in a Milquetoast manner towards the prophet Mohammad.  No wonder why they can derisively known as the "Lamestream Media".

In 2013, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) sought to limit who can be a journalist. Feinstein argued that a federal shield law should only apply to "real reporters".  But what if these paid journalists refuse to report the news?

These pusillanimous journalists should review what dhimmitude means.  This second class citizenship of non-Muslims acknowledges the dominance of sharia law and does not allow anything to offend those within the Dar-Islam.   Self-censorship so as not to give offense to Muslims is a major step in accepting those social shackles.

In Paris, many protesters to the Charlie Hebdo atrocity carried pencils to symbolize that the pencil is mightier than the sword and that they are not afraid. The cartoon of the Twin Tower of Pencils links terrorism from America's 9/11 attack to the Parisian terrorism.  Sadly this cartoon has another connection.  American news networks stopped showing the terrorist planes hitting the World Trade Center except briefly during the 9/11 anniversary to supposedly not to show provocative images. Of course, such horrific footage might remind people about the consequences of unchecked terrorism.  

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