In a bombshell announcement tonight, the New York alt weekly New York Press announced that the paper's entire editorial board has resigned, in protest of the publisher's refusal to run the controversial "Muhammad cartoons," which are currently being blamed for riots being carried out by fanatics throughout Europe and the Middle East.
Not sure what this means for the future of my football column, but hey, the season was over anyway. Here's their letter, by editor Harry Siegel:
For all the talk of freedom of speech, only the New York Sun locally and two other papers nationally have mustered the minimal courage needed to print simple and not especially offensive editorial cartoons that have been used as a pretext for great and greatly menacing violence directed against journalists, cartoonists, humanitarian aid workers, diplomats and others who represent the basic values and obligations of Western civilization. Having been ordered at the 11th hour to pull the now-infamous Danish cartoons from an issue dedicated to them, the editorial groupóconsisting of myself, managing editor Tim Marchman, arts editorJonathan Leaf and one-man city hall bureau Azi Paybarah, chose instead to resign our positions.While they did a great job in their brief time and I'm sad to see them go, I'm proud of the Press guys for what they have chosen to do, and I'll certainly follow them wherever they go. It's an especially more honorable exit than the embarrassing "funny things about the Pope's death" scandal that caused the previous regime's exit. Posted by Stephen Silver at February 7, 2006 11:01 PM
We have no desire to be free speech martyrs, but it would have been nakedly hypocritical to avoid the same cartoons we'd criticized others for not running, cartoons that however absurdly have inspired arson, kidnapping and murder and forced cartoonists in at least two continents to go into hiding. Editors have already been forced to leave papers in Jordan and France for having run these cartoons. We have no illusions about the power of the Press (NY Press, we mean), but even on the far margins of the world-historical stage, we are not willing to side with the enemies of the values we hold dear, a free press not least among them.