Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Opposing viewpoints

Ted Rall and the editorial board of the Christian Science Monitor pose two directly opposing views of the cartoon jihad.

Rall, though not my favorite writer, here makes the argument for free speech in as extreme a manner as possible. He takes the position any good liberal must:
What if millions of people take offense? What if some of them turn violent, even murderous? So what? No one can make you angry. You decide whether or not to become angry. If journalistic gatekeepers worry about the mere possibility of prompting outrage, they'll validate mob rule and undermine our right to a free press, one that covers the controversial along with the bland.

While deciding what goes into the paper and the evening news, good journalists ought to be guided by only one consideration: Is it news? If the answer is yes, send it out. Even if it's tasteless as all f---.
Ironic, isn’t it, that in an article on censorship, the word “fuck” is censored?

The Christian Science Monitor on the other hand makes this off-base analogy:
His plethora of illustrations was a cultural assault akin to staging a neo-Nazi rally in a Jewish neighborhood. It bordered on yelling "fire" in a crowded theater - not a matter for censorship but judgment.
Did they see the cartoons? (And if it bordered on the fire hypothetical, wouldn’t that mean it almost should be censored, and that something worse, like cannibalistic rabbis, should be prohibited?) Though the article condemns violence it sidesteps every question raised by this ruckus. Shame on them.

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