Jacoby: Fear (of Jihadists) Cows the Media
Jeff Jacoby offers up yet another reason for the anti-Israel bias in the media: they are afraid of Muslim rage. The folks willing to destroy embassies over a few cartoons are certainly happy to kill off a few journalists over a few unfriendly articles.
THE PHOENIX is Boston’s leading ”alternative” newspaper, the kind of brash, pull-no-punches weekly that might have been expected to print without hesitation the Mohammed cartoons that Islamists have been using to incite rage and riots across the Muslim world. …
But the 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. …
Journalists can be incredibly brave, but when it comes to covering the Arab and Muslim world, too many news organizations have knuckled under to threats. Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, a veteran foreign correspondent, admitted long ago that ”physical intimidation” by the PLO led reporters to skew their coverage of important stories or to ignore them ”out of fear.” Similarly, CNN’s former news executive, Jordan Eason, acknowledged after the fall of Saddam Hussein that his network had long sanitized its news from Iraq, since reporting the unvarnished truth ”would have jeopardized the lives of . . . our Baghdad staff.”