Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Daily Strikes Back

By doing absolutely nothing.

In response to their ridiculous reasoning for not printing the Muhammad cartoons, I wrote them a letter calling them out on it. The response I received from their forum editor?
Thank you for taking the time to write us. However, we only run one letter per person each quarter. But please do submit something next quarter.

Bah! Would've been fantastic for them to let their readers know that was policy. I'm suspicious enough to look through the archives and see if they're true to their word, but I don't I'll find anything.

In any case, in the name of freedom of speech, I'm publishing my letter here with the hope in mind that somebody, from either Northwestern University or the Daily Northwestern, will read it.
The Daily has chosen not to publish the Muhammad cartoons. I do not begrudge them this. Freedom of speech requires I don’t. The Daily, however, needs to be perfectly clear with its readers about why it chooses not to do so.

The Daily claims that they are not exempt from respecting readers’ sensitivities, that publishing the cartoons would only be for shock value and would not add to the debate. I’ve been at Northwestern only six months, but this would be the first time The Daily has ever taken such a stance.

Such a stance is in direct contradiction to cartoons previously published. Some cartoons feature creationists as wild-eyed, drooling morons, campus Christians as sword-bearing zealots ready to slay heathens, and a depiction of President Bush defecating on the American flag. Exactly what do those add to “the debate” beside shock value? How are those acceptable images, but a picture of bearded man in a turban standing next to a donkey, with “Muhammad” written beneath him, is unacceptable?

Where has this newfound sense of responsibility come from? Has The Daily developed amnesia about the work of its own artists? Or is this rank hypocrisy based on which groups are okay to offend and enrage?

Is it worth noting that several people have been suspended from The Daily Illini for publishing the cartoons?

Again, I don’t begrudge The Daily their decision not to print the cartoons, but don’t take us for fools. Be honest with your audience and tell us why you really choose not to print the cartoons, because the reasons you gave us make you either hypocrites or liars.

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