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Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Editorial Integrity

Posted by on February 7 at 17:38 PM

The entire New York Press editorial staff walked off the job today because they were told not to re-print the now infamous Danish cartoons.

From Editor-in-Chief Harry Siegel’s email announcing the resignations:

New York Press, like so many other publications, has suborned its own professed principles. For all the talk of freedom of speech, only the New York Sun locally and two other papers nationally have mustered the minimal courage needed to print simple and not especially offensive editorial cartoons that have been used as a pretext for great and greatly menacing violence directed against journalists, cartoonists, humanitarian aid workers, diplomats and others who represent the basic values and obligations of Western civilization. Having been ordered at the 11th hour to pull the now-infamous Danish cartoons from an issue dedicated to them, the editorial group—consisting of myself, managing editor Tim Marchman, arts editorJonathan Leaf and one-man city hall bureau Azi Paybarah, chose instead to resign our positions.

We have no desire to be free speech martyrs, but it would have been nakedly hypocritical to avoid the same cartoons we’d criticized others for not running, cartoons that however absurdly have inspired arson, kidnapping and murder and forced cartoonists in at least two continents to go into hiding. Editors have already been forced to leave papers in Jordan and France for having run these cartoons. We have no illusions about the power of the Press (NY Press, we mean), but even on the far margins of the world-historical stage, we are not willing to side with the enemies of the values we hold dear, a free press not least among them.

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Hats off to them and their ethics. I salute the entire staff for standing up (and walking out) for what they believe in. that mean NY Press is hiring?

Wow. Bravo. Now what? I'm stunned. I hope they get their jobs back after the publisher backs down -- or jumps in the river.

"Hats off to them and their ethics. I salute the entire staff for standing up (and walking out) for what they believe in. that mean NY Press is hiring?"


I hope the Stranger has already placed calls to see if they can get some of these people on board.

is the stranger going to publish the cartoon?

When the people of Billings MT stand against anti-semitic violence at directed toward a familiy with a menorah, all the neighbors put menorahs in their windows.

I think that the right thing to do in this case is for every news publication to print the cartoon.

Let the haters see the world united against them.

I think the right thing to do in this case is for *every* newspaper's editorial staff to walk off the job in solidarity.

following up on Billings...when the Nazis took over Denmark and demanded that all Jews wear yellow armbands with a star of David...the King of Denmark wore one as did much of the population.

I agree with Napoleon. Every newspaper in this country ought to run the cartoons and if they don't, their staff should at least stage a one day walk off.

you racist lil fucks. If it was a cartoon of some yank soldiers raping Iraqi children (which actually does happen in reality, yay go america - you fucktards) you'd be shrieking your fucking faces off about how you were mistreated. How about a REALLY funny cartoon about some homosexual getting the fuck beat out of them by rednecks. Or how about a funny cartoon about a jew getting gassed in a nazi death camp ? Or maybe a funny cartoon about a yank soldier getting his head blown off for torturing innocent civilians ?Awwwww, you mean that isnt quite so funny now ??? Those cartoons were *commisioned* for the sole purpose of stiring up trouble. This isnt freedom of speech, this is racism.

See, this is what happens with out a free press. Many people believe the cartoons are more offensive than they are, or that they were published with the intention of stirring up insurgence, because most people have not been able to view the cartoons.

and racism can't be freedom of expression? So why does the ACLU defend the right of neo-Nazis to protest? While it also, argues for gay rights, for abortion, for the rights of detainees in Gitmo and on and on and on...

I hate to get personal No Name, but you're a stupid twit who can't seem to logically get from point A to B without getting lost along the way.

THEY ARE CARTOONS! No thinking person thinks they are ANY more then that. They are by definition meant to be funny. "Funny" is different to many people. I do not believe they were meant to stir up any more than a giggle. No Name you are an idiot and this Fucktard enjoys a good cartoon. Too bad for you. Maybe you could go back whereever you came form and oppress those people?

NO NAME, you are partly correct in that the Mohammed cartoon is racist and offensive. It offends me. I have no doubt it offends many Muslims. It is no better than offensive Jew or fag or black cartoons. If I were a newspaper editor, I probably would choose not to print something like that.

But that isn't the point. The point is that the reaction (firebombing embassies, demanding the cartoonists be beheaded) is completely out of bounds. Write angry letters to the editors, protest the newspapers, acts of peaceful civil disobedience, sure. But beheading?!? The point is that some people say the press shouldn't have the right to print offensive material (cartoon or otherwise). Although people sometimes say offensive things, and newspapers sometimes print offensive things, freedom of speech and a free press are cornerstones of a free society. Sometimes a free press is messy, but the alternatives (fascism, communism, any sort of police state) are much worse.

Personally, I would rather the Stranger not reprint this cartoon (as they have said they intend to do). But I completely defend their right to do so. That is the point.

If the stranger reprints it it'll be the last time I read the stranger. 3 years ago an artist had some cartoons of christ. He submitted them to the same newspaper and that newspaper refused to publish them saying that they might offend ppl. But its ok to offend the Muslims. This isnt freedom of speech. This is stiring up the pot to see if you can make ppl so angry that they do become violent. And you fuckers are falling for it. It really disgusts me beyond belief.

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
-Martin Niemoeller

karma is gonna bite hard on your asses.

For Dan Savage: Since youre gay and youre have a fair bit of pull here I wantto submit some cartoons. I'll describe them for you

First cartoon will show some fag getting a pike shoved up his ass to teach him a lession for being a fag. After all no fag deserves to live just ask a redneck or anyone in the christian right.

Next cartoon will show a child molesting fag getting beaten to death at the playground, after all all fags are child molesters. Just ask my homophobic grandfather...

Next cartoon shows a fag being executed simpley for being a fag, after all god wills it right ?????

I personally dont give a shit if people are bi str8 gay undecided or uninterested. But lots of people do. Lots of people would in fact find those mythical cartoons above funny. So why not print them ? After all its freedom of speech youre protecting by doing it. Just because you can do something doesnt mean you should. Its called respect and you dont have any.

"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."
- 19th-century Danish Christian philosopher Soren Kierkegaard

I found a good take on the cartoons here

Oh, boo-fucking-hoo, No Name. The beauty of this whole freedom of speech thing is that you use the word "fag" and call for their deaths, and say they’re all child molesters, AND THERE WILL BE NO VIOLENT REPERCUSSIONS AGAINST YOU. Also, you can put Mohammed in a bomb turban and expect the same. That's what freedom of speech is all about.

Clever use of Martin Niemoeller's quote. But doesn't it apply just as much to people who keep quiet when others are trying to silence their right to say whatever they want?

Good analysis from Salon on the current cartoon Tsunami:

It appears that the conservative Danish paper that printed the cartoons had a hidden agenda, no surprise there, but it also does not justify the actions of Islamic fascists. It tries to explain the why, and stays away from simplification. It also touches on some myths people have of Danish liberalism. It was specially interisting to read that the paper actually had refused Jesus cartoons because they didnt want to offend Danish Lutheran sensitivities.

Salon also printed a story yesterday from Islam critic and Dutch parliament member Hirsi Ali who says the cartoons should be reprinted everywhere, and includes some good critical analysis.

Good balance in their reportage, much better than the Stranger’s and North American right winger’s hissy fit and lame generalizations. The situation is serious, I believe huge numbers of fundamentalists want an all out war, and some people would like nothing more than to give it to them, and insulting all Muslims, even those that are moderate believers does not seem to be the best course of action, of course neither is letting enraged religious lunatics dictate outcomes.

The problem of course is that the issue is being used by extreme islamic fanatics and xenophobic right wingers. with moderates caught in the cross fire.

Good thing there are other ways to get good analysis on a complex issue.

I, for one, want The Stranger to run the cartoons, at the very least so I can take a look at them myself. I keep hearing criticisms of the cartoons, but most of these criticisms make no mention of what the cartoons depict or say.

No Name:
The Stranger has regularly printed cartoons or mantages insulting and degrading Christianity, including 2 I can think of immediately that were on the cover. The one with the virgin birth of the Turkey was disgusting!

Until I read your posts I had kind of forgotten how over the edge many Sranger digs/attacks on Christianity have been and was thinking maybe the Stranger editors were being a little racist (like they get sometimes with Islam because they are sooo fucking ignorant), but now I have to say that their track record on blasphemy completely exonerates them of any charge of hypocrisy in the case of visual editorialising (ie cartoons).

Whether their policies will lead to Armegedon(sp?) as has been suggested is another question. How much to I have to change my local activities to prevent Armagedonn-causing offense? I mean am I wiping with the correct hand?

I know if ignorant fools like the Stranger editor hadn't encouraged the invasion of Iraq the whole question wouldn't be so important!

No Name: you are a schill for something but I dont have time to figure it out yet.

Go to Andrew Sullivan's site, he should still have them up. I liked the one where Muhamad says that they ran out of virgins when some suicide bombers show up in heaven. A couple are funny, some are just stupid and meant to offend and lack wit. They have been all over the web.

Joking about religion seems so seventies. Or eighties.

"In America, (but curiously not in parts of Europe where the debate is centered), a neo-Nazi newsletter has the right (and exercises that right) to publish hate speech and terribly offensive portrayals of Jews and Blacks, but if those publications are met with protests, the mainstream media is hardly likely to reprint the words and pictures as "solidarity" with the notion of a free press, as some European papers have done in solidarity with their Danish counterpart. Provocation? Perhaps, but worse yet, bigoted." From an article at the Huffington Post by Hooman Majd:

There IS a difference between protests and death threats and burning of buildings, isn't there?

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