February 20, 2006


When fear cows the media (Jeff Jacoby, February 19, 2006, Boston Globe)

[T]he Phoenix isn't publishing the Mohammed drawings, and in a brutally candid editorial it explained why.

''Our primary reason," the editors confessed, is ''fear of retaliation from . . . bloodthirsty Islamists who seek to impose their will on those who do not believe as they do . . . Simply stated, we are being terrorized, and . . . 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."

The vast majority of US media outlets have shied away from reproducing the drawings, but to my knowledge only the Phoenix has been honest enough to admit that it is capitulating to fear. Many of the others have published high-minded editorials and columns about the importance of ''restraint" and ''sensitivity" and not giving ''offense" to Muslims. Several have claimed they wouldn't print the Danish cartoons for the same reason they wouldn't print overtly racist or anti-Semitic material. The managing editor for news of The Oregonian, for example, told her paper's ombudsman that not running the images is like avoiding the N-word -- readers don't need to see a racial slur spelled out to understand its impact. Yet a Nexis search turns up at least 14 occasions since 1999 when The Oregonian has published the N-word unfiltered. So there are times when it is appropriate to run material that some may find offensive.

Rationalizations notwithstanding, the refusal of the US media to show the images at the heart of one of the most urgent stories of the day is not about restraint and good taste.

Given that the Phoenix runs Dan Savage it certainly isn't about decency and good taste.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 20, 2006 4:03 PM

Dan Savage and Michael Savage.

Perhaps it says something about people who change their names to "Savage"


More on point, not running the cartoons, but giving the above explanation works fine for me.

Posted by: Bruno at February 20, 2006 4:41 PM


Hush. Doc Savage was my childhood hero.

Posted by: oj at February 20, 2006 4:44 PM

Might we have seen the last days of the Boston Phoenix, after that "brutally honest" display of weeniedom?

The Phoenix editors couldn't carry Michelle Malkin's panties.

Posted by: Brad S at February 20, 2006 4:59 PM

Might we have seen the last days of the Boston Phoenix, after that "brutally honest" display of weeniedom?

Well, for now the other media outlets are going to be irked at the Phoenix for letting the cat out of the bag, but in other corners they'll be honored for the courage to say they have no courage (and exactly how many people overseas in dager zones who could be affected by the publication of the cartoons on legitimate news grounds does the Boston Phoenix have in their employ?)

Posted by: John at February 20, 2006 5:21 PM

Then, there's Fred Savage.

Posted by: obc at February 20, 2006 8:42 PM

They are saying, "A," now let them say, "B."

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 20, 2006 11:05 PM

They need to not say A

Posted by: oj at February 20, 2006 11:09 PM

The virtue of the Blogosphere is that we speak our minds without fear, right?

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 21, 2006 1:20 AM


That's not a virtue. It's why there's so much filth and Nazism and the like on-line. Fear is a great disciple.

Posted by: oj at February 21, 2006 7:29 AM

"Nothing is so rash as fear; and the counsels of pusillanimity very rarely put off, whilst they are always sure to aggravate, the evils from which they should fly." Burke

Posted by: Tom C,Stamford,Ct . at February 21, 2006 11:16 AM

You can't actually look to Burke to defend blasphemy:

If, then, all dominion of man over man is the effect of the divine disposition, it is bound by the eternal laws of Him that gave it, with which no human authority can dispense; neither he that exercises it, nor even those who are subject to it; and, if they were mad enough to make an express compact, that should release their magistrate from his duty, and should declare their lives, liberties and properties, dependent upon, not rules and laws, but his mere capricious will, that covenant would be void.

This arbitrary power is not to be had by conquest. Nor can any sovereign have it by succession; for no man can succeed to fraud, rapine, and violence. Those who give and those who receive arbitrary power are alike criminal; and there is no man but is bound to resist it to the best of his power, wherever it shall show its face to the world.

Law and arbitrary power are in eternal enmity. Name me a magistrate, and I will name property; name me power, and I will name protection. It is a contradiction in terms, it is blasphemy in religion, it is wickedness in politics, to say that any man can have arbitrary power. In every patent of office the duty is included. For what else does a magistrate exist? To suppose for power, is an absurdity in idea. Judges are guided and governed by the eternal laws of justice, to which we are all subject. We may bite our chains, if we will; but we shall be made to know ourselves, and be taught that man is born to be governed by law; and he that will substitute will in the place of it is an enemy to God.

Posted by: oj at February 21, 2006 11:25 AM

or intimidation through fear and the application of arbitrary power. "Be not afraid".

Posted by: Tom C,Stamford,Ct . at February 21, 2006 11:38 AM

Yes, it would be silly for someone who is violating Divine Law to be worried about mere arbitrary power.

Posted by: oj at February 21, 2006 11:46 AM

hard to blaspheme a man.

Posted by: Tom C,Stamford,Ct . at February 21, 2006 11:53 AM

Not if God chose him to do His bidding.

Posted by: oj at February 21, 2006 12:07 PM

You're losing it, guy.

Posted by: Tom C,Stamford,Ct . at February 21, 2006 12:28 PM