Sunday, February 05, 2006
The Ten Minutes' Hate
Been wondering why cartoons that were originally published in September of last year didn't seem to be a big problem until recently? Turns out that they weren't that big of a problem until the Saudis decided to make them a problem. Why? To distract from the huge scandals involving how this year's Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, was handled -- and also to see about nabbing some of Denmark's dairy business in the Middle East. (See, if all these countries suddenly stop buying Danish products, then the Saudis can step into the breach. How convenient.) The story is here. Not to be outdone, our own Pentagon (aka Donald Rumsfeld) and FOX News are doing their damndest to get somebody to go after Tom Toles, for daring to run this cartoon that tells an uncomfortable and inconvenient truth about what the "Vulcans" in the PNAC Platoon have done to our military. They haven't managed to kill Toles, but they've only been at it a few days; besides, I'm sure that they're managed to put a good scare into Toles' bosses over at the Washington Post. Perhaps they might now spike the next Barton Gellman exposé on Iraq in order to placate Rummy and Company. [UPDATE: More and more of the moderate Muslims worldwide are publicly telling the excrement-stirrers to cease and desist. I'd love to see this happen with the FOX Anti-Toles Brigade, but somehow I don't think that will happen.]
I thought the cartoons were stupid and their publication irresponsible, given that they had no intrinsic value and that their publication could have been predicted to have deadly results. This doesn't mean that I'd favor govenment action to halt their publication. Their republication as a stand for press freedom doesn't strike me as much more serious. I am afraid that it is exactly the lack of seriousness in the news media that will lead people to conclude that the "free press" doesn't serve any important function and so its freedom isn't important enough to perserve.
The Toles cartoon was hard to take but easy in comparison to the line of blige from Rumsfeld and the rest of the junta. It is a perfect example of possibly offensive material that does serve a valuable purpose, the perfect example of why press freedom should not only be protected but practiced.
Charles, I missed your requests on how to promote more effective spokespersons in the Democratic party. The old fashioned ways are best, writing to the possible spokesperson requesting that they act as one and make the effort to get themselves out, writing to their colleagues and party officials. Mentioning their recent statements on blogs and in letters. Demanding why they their recent statements weren't included in reporting.
I'd like other ideast myself.
More blogs about politics.