Karol over at Alarming News argues that republishing the offensive Muhammad cartoons in a show of solidarity with the Danes is “dumb.” She makes some of the same points that Ben did in my comments section when I decided to post one of the cartoons. Karol writes:
It is well-known that many Arab newspapers have featured Ariel Sharon as a bloodthirsty monster, a demon who eats children and hopes for death and destruction. Had Jews rioted at this depiction, had they set afire embassies around the world or raged in the streets, I would denounce them harshly, advise them to get a grip and to deal with real problems that face us all. But if a newspaper reprinted the cartoons in some twisted show of solidarity, I would see the paper as merely fanning the flames of conflict.
The problem with this argument is that it doesn’t reflect reality. Muslim leaders aren’t denouncing their coreligionists harshly, they are encouraging them to riot. And Jews don’t riot, set embassies on fire or rage in the streets. They behave in a civilized manner and use their free speech rights to express their anger with anti-Semitism in the Arab world by writing about it or otherwise raising awareness.
And it must be noted that this is not an isolated example. Muslim fanatics have a long history of using intimidation to silence free speech, just look at the tragedy of the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. Other news outlets should republish the cartoons to show Muslims that the free world will not allow itself to be at the mercy of the most violent mob.
Even if news organizations don’t want to republish the cartoons in the name of solidarity, they should do so as part of covering the story. The U.S. media had no problem plastering the Abu Ghraib photos in magazines, newspapers and on television even though they were shocking, offensive, injurious to America’s reputation and likely put American soldiers in Iraq in greater danger. But they printed the photos as part of covering the story. If there were a controversy over anti-Semitic cartoons, I’d want to see them for myself to understand what all the fuss was about. By avoiding publication of the Muhammad cartoons, American news outlets are neglecting a major element of the story.