Sunday, October 10, 2010

Washington Post pulls cartoon WITHOUT Mohammed

Last Sunday, the Washington Post refused to publish the following cartoon:

The catch is - Mohammed is not depicted in the picture at all.

Yet, the Washington Post and other newspapers refused to run the cartoon, out of the potential that some Muslims somewhere might be offended.

The WaPo's ombudsman writes:

[Cartoonist Wiley] Miller is fuming. The award-winning cartoonist, who lives in Maine, told me the cartoon was meant to satirize "the insanity of an entire group of people rioting and putting out a hit list over cartoons," as well as "media cowering in fear of printing any cartoon that contains the word 'Muhammad.' "

"The wonderful irony [is that] great newspapers like The Washington Post, that took on Nixon . . . run in fear of this very tame cartoon, thus validating the accuracy of the satire," he said by e-mail.

...Yes, Miller was trying to be provocative. But "Non Sequitur" followers expect that. And there's a difference between provoking anger and provoking readers to think.

Surely some may be displeased by "Where's Muhammad?" But unlike with the Danish cartoons, it's hard to imagine it would incite protests. Miller intentionally did not depict Muhammad, and the cartoon is not a blasphemous attack on the prophet. If anything, it's a powerful and witty endorsement of freedom of expression.

Post editors believe their decision was prudent, given the past cartoon controversies and heightened sensitivities surrounding Islam. But it also can be seen as timid. And it sets an awfully low threshold for decisions on whether to withhold words or images that might offend.
"Timid" is way understated. "Utterly dhimmified" comes a bit closer. At least the WaPo ombudsman gets it.

(h/t Jawa Report)