The staff of a newspaper can run any images they want, or refuse to run any images they want. They’re paid to make those decisions. And when the rationalizations they give for their editorial judgments are a bunch of crap, we can point out that they’re a bunch of crap.
Back in January, here’s what New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet told his public editor, Margaret Sullivan, about his decision not to publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons after their staff was slaughtered by Muslim terrorists:
He said he had spent “about half of my day” on the question, seeking out the views of senior editors and reaching out to reporters and editors in some of The Times’s international bureaus. They told him they would not feel endangered if The Times reproduced the images, he told me, but he remained concerned about staff safety.
“I sought out a lot of views, and I changed my mind twice,” he said. “It had to be my decision alone.”
Ultimately, he decided against it, he said, because he had to consider foremost the sensibilities of Times readers, especially its Muslim readers. To many of them, he said, depictions of the prophet Muhammad are sacrilegious; those that are meant to mock even more so. “We have a standard that is long held and that serves us well: that there is a line between gratuitous insult and satire. Most of these are gratuitous insult.”
“Gratuitous insult.” The NYT tries to avoid gratuitously insulting people of faith. They had an international news story about people being murdered for creating blasphemous art, and that art wasn’t shown because it was gratuitously insulting. Dean Baquet chose not to offend the sensibilities of religious people.
Which explains this image from today’s NYT:
That’s a portrait of the Pope, made out of condoms. Get it?
You have every right to make a portrait of the Pope out of condoms. And if the NYT deems that newsworthy, it only makes sense to show the image. That’s what the story is about.
The same goes for the Charlie Hebdo story. Baquet can rationalize it all he wants, but he allowed terrorists a veto. He allowed murderers to dictate the content of his newspaper. And once the coast was clear, he forgot all about his high-minded excuses. He doesn’t need to worry about Catholics trying to kill him for offending them. They’ll just complain about it, and he’ll publish a “Look at the rubes” story about it, and nobody will get murdered or worry about getting murdered.
And so it goes, until the next time Muslim terrorists kill people for offending them.
Islam is the religion of peace. So watch your step.