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And they wonder why we don't trust them any more

Two sets of pictures have been the focus of major attention these last couple of weeks, and it's rather enlightening to see how the major media outlets have handled them.

Across the globe, Muslims are rioting, killing, and burning over a series of 12 cartoons (and 3 forged ones, perpetuated by a group of Danish Muslims) depicting their prophet Mohammed with various degrees of irreverance. And a series of photos from the Abu Ghraib Prison abuse incident have been made public.

The Big Boys of the mainstream media (New York Times, CNN, Boston Globe) have treated these two sets of images very differently. In the Mohammed cartoon case, they have deferred publishing. In the Abu Ghraib case, they have been given prominent play.

The stated reasoning for not publishing the Mohammed pictures is thus: any representation of Mohammed is supposed to be blasphemy to Muslims (a fairly recent development in their theology), so the cartoons are being withheld out of respect for Muslim sensibilities. But the Abu Ghraib photos -- the actions there were perpetrated by American service members, and the public has a right to know what was being done in their name.

I, personally, can see compelling reasons for just the opposite determination.

In the Mohammed cartoons case, I think the public has a right to see for itself just how offensive the cartoons are and make their own judgment if it is that offensive. Further, it would expose those faked cartoons as the frauds they are, and bring exposure to those Danish Imams (led by Abu Lanam) for their fraud.

In the Abu Ghraib case, there is no compelling reason for publishing them beyond sensationalism. They were taken about 3 years ago, and all the involved parties have been tried. There is nothing "new" about them; they shed no new light on just who was involved or of any complicity by highers-up. All they do is revive the incident, re-hashing what we already know and have already dealt with.

But it is the unspoken reasoning that is the most compelling here, and that is this:

In both cases, there will be an aggrieved party. But the Bush administration is considerably less likely to burn down or blow up your offices, behead your staff, and demand the execution of your entire family.

Great message you're sending, MSM. Just like when CNN cooperated with Saddam in the 90's, trading spiked stories for "access," the signal is clear: we can be cowed, we can be intimidated, we will cheerfully suppress the truth if you threaten us enough.


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» Right Thoughts...not right wing, just right. linked with Yeah...well...if it can hurt Bush in any way

» A Blog For All linked with The Mayhem Continues

» Hold The Mayo linked with The Media's Mainstream Hypocrisy

» A North American Patriot linked with A Tale of Two Images

Comments (13)

<a href="http://www.right-t... (Below threshold)
JimK:
Jay, I agree with you on y... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay, I agree with you on your premise of MSM pusillanimous and often hypocritical self- censorship. But I draw the opposite conclusions. If CNN (and others) caved in so easily to Saddam's and radical Muslim threats, not to publish embarrassing stoires or blasphemous cartons for fear of loss of access or reprisal; by implication, the MSM can be cowed by the administration and their corporate paymasters not to publish or pursue stories, not in their financial interest or for so-called national security reasons such as these The solution lies in trying to uncover the truth, wherever it my lie, even if putting at risk of some of its commercial dewpendency or privileged government access, with the recognition also, that 'freedom of the press' a cherished constitutional right in the USA, normally does not exist in those countries trumpeting America's demise or defeat.

I agree. The Abu Ghraib ph... (Below threshold)
JAT:

I agree. The Abu Ghraib photographs are being published to do further and continuing damage to America.

But, but, but...th... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

But, but, but...

the president didn't call and emergency SOTU address within hours of the Cheney shooting. You see, the MSM has the dibs on moral indignation because of that now.

Evidence: MSM won't publis... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

Evidence: MSM won't publish images offensive to Islamic enemies of our country.

Evidence: MSM won't stop publishing images harmful to our troops and country, long after they have lost any journalistic value.

Crickmore's conclusion: the MSM is easily cowed by the government.

Crickmore, would you accept a media investigation and publication of everything about you and your family on the grounds that it is in the interest of public safety to alert the populace of someone whose ability to reason is that badly flawed?

I sort of agree. But publis... (Below threshold)
Rob Filomena:

I sort of agree. But publishing the Mohammed illustrations would be just another ratings grab. The notion that news networks, in particular cable news networks feel any sort of responsibility toward honest reporting and prioritizing coverage based on a story's real importance is a joke. Take FOX. On any given day you will hear multiple reports on non-stores, like Natalie Halloway, or the Brokeback Mountain conspiracy, or the de-Christmasing of Christmas and others. Let's all collectively put these miserable excuses for news sources like Fox, CNN & MSNBC out of business by NOT WATCHING!!! They provide endless white noise to the political discourse in this country.

Uhh...ok.Steve, yo... (Below threshold)
MunDane:

Uhh...ok.

Steve, you now are just as well informed as Jim Lampley and Alec Baldwin. WTG! So what is Kool-ade flavor of the day?

Just so I can get this straight: At a nationally televised press conference, ten years ago, an FBI AD told "security" to remove a reporter after asking a question, (the same question BTW, roughly, which Jim Lehrer asked ten days later) and only one reporter in the room noticed it?

Doesn't that strain credibility somewhat? (Also want to point out, since you are a Dem apologist, Kallstrom was a Clinton appointee.)

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/transportation/november96/twa_11-19.html

Hmmm.What I find c... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

What I find curious is the extraordinary number of people I know who have absolutely no idea what those cartoons are all about. They know about the riots, the threats, the deaths and the mayhem.

But they've never actually seen the cartoons.

Frankly more and more as time passes I come to think of the MSM as the enemy.

I agree Jay, and it also br... (Below threshold)
KMonarrez:

I agree Jay, and it also brings to mind another case of MSM self imposed censorship.

I haven't seen too many pictures about 9/11 in quite some time. I seem to recall that the reason for that was to help us (US Citizens) "heal." (ie... not get fired up about the attack perpetrated against us).

They don't seem to care too much about getting arabs fired up against the US with the continual re-hash of the prison photos... but they will prevent us from getting fired up "to let us heal." Rank hypocrisy, that.

Being Sunday, I have a chan... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Being Sunday, I have a chance to respond..B Moe..you are right 'conclusions drawn' was overstated.. an inference drawn would have been more accurate..I couldn't agree more with Jay's premise that MSM editors are more concerned about offending Radical Islam sensibilities than stirring up anti-American feelings.. but as so many of the incidents in Iraq are so dreadful it's difficult to separate the two and as Powell told Bush "You own it now" so whose fault is that if the MSM can't help but report the situation there? MunDan..I don't hold with all the conspiracy theories, but often don't find the official government spokesman statements any more convincing..This is why I prefer to read an aggressive perhaps adversarial media searching for the truth without fear of consequences where the chips may fall. The government has a lot of resourses at their command to give their side of the story, so it is healthy for democracy if the press is sometimes over solicitous of its faults; and certainly the present administration doesn't seem to lack for arrogance. I'm sure most of you will agree when its the Democrats turn at the reins of power, much of the press will be just as judgmental.

Giving News Equal time, fre... (Below threshold)
sirseth:

Giving News Equal time, freedom of speech. There has to a Judge somewhere that likes to see and read uncensored, unbias truth. It's called the spirit of freedom looking for a free Press.

I'm sure most of y... (Below threshold)
Mark A. Flacy:
I'm sure most of you will agree when its the Democrats turn at the reins of power, much of the press will be just as judgmental.

Well, most of us that are lunatics would agree.

"This is why I prefer to... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

"This is why I prefer to read an aggressive perhaps adversarial media searching for the truth without fear of consequences where the chips may fall. The government has a lot of resourses at their command to give their side of the story, so it is healthy for democracy if the press is sometimes over solicitous of its faults..."

Do you not see the contradictions here? Why would a media in search of the "truth" be aggressive and adverserial? And how can you call being "over solicitous of its faults" more truthful?




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