Tags: War on Terrorism | Carlie Hebdo | New York Times | Associated Press

Critics: Glaring Hypocrisy in NYT, AP Charlie Hebdo Coverage

By    |   Monday, 12 Jan 2015 09:37 AM

While many in the media professed solidarity with those killed in the terrorist attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, major news organizations have taken public stances that appear at odds with their claims.

In a Jan. 8 column in response to readers' criticisms of The New York Times' refusal to republish the controversial cartoons, Times public editor Margaret Sullivan posed the rhetorical question: "Was The Times cowardly and lacking in journalistic solidarity when it decided not to publish the images from the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that precipitated the execution of French journalists?"

Sullivan, who was named as Times public editor in September 2012, defended the paper by first running through a list of newspapers and press organizations that also had chosen to forgo the opportunity to put the controversial cartoons in their paper or on air.

She spoke with Times executive editor Dean Baquet, who said that after much debate, he decided against it "because he had to consider foremost the sensibilities of Times readers, especially its Muslim readers."

She added: "To many of them, he said, depictions of the prophet Muhammad are sacrilegious; those that are meant to mock even more so."

She concluded her Public Editor column by asserting that "a review and reconsideration of those standards may be in order in the days ahead."

Dan Abrams, a columnist for Mediaite, criticized Sullivan, saying she erred in asserting that merely publishing the cartoons constituted an attack on Muslims and was "dangerous business" that should have been apparent to Sullivan.

"Maybe just as important, it belies her previous contention that we may learn more in the days ahead that might change the equation for the Times in determining whether to publish the cartoons. There is no question we know what happened and why. Islamic extremists used murder and violence to instill fear in people and cultures they despise. That is not going to change," Abrams wrote.

Mediaite has published the cartoons as part of its coverage of the attacks.

Wall Street Journal columnist L. Gordon Crovitz noted the hypocrisy of The New York Times and the Associated Press, which also stated it would not publish the satirical images because "moving deliberately provocative images" was against its longstanding policy.

"Both claims were easy to refute; the Times and the AP had both reproduced artwork offensive to Christians, such as Andres Serrano's 'Piss Christ,'" he said, adding that moderate Muslims would benefit from publication of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

"Moderate Muslims around the world most need a robust defense of free speech, especially if it offends. In the spirit of Voltaire, they’re taking great risks to challenge extremism," he wrote.

Howard Kurtz, media critic for Fox News, said it was a difficult decision.

"Some critics say that’s cowardly; I think it’s a tough call. I would prefer that they continue aggressive reporting, commentary and, yes, satire if warranted against Islamic terrorists and those who would extinguish free speech at the point of a gun," he wrote in a Jan. 9 editorial.

Human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who has been outspoken in her criticism of radical Islam, said the consequences of not forthrightly addressing radical Islam would be equivalent to a non-response to the terrorist attacks.

"How we respond to this attack is of great consequence. If we take the position that we are dealing with a handful of murderous thugs with no connection to what they so vocally claim, then we are not answering them.

"We have to acknowledge that today’s Islamists are driven by a political ideology, an ideology embedded in the foundational texts of Islam," Ali said. "We can no longer pretend that it is possible to divorce actions from the ideals that inspire them."

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While many in the media professed solidarity with those killed in the terrorist attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, major news organizations have taken public stances that appear at odds with their claims.
Carlie Hebdo, New York Times, Associated Press
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2015-37-12
Monday, 12 Jan 2015 09:37 AM
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