February 07, 2006

Free Press

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.

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.

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


Posted by: A at February 7, 2006 11:26 PM

Inspirational, Steve. I've never read the NYP, so I'm not qualified to say whether it's "garbage," but what I can say is that it strikes me that these folks have more journalistic integrity than most of the rest of the editorial boards in the country put together. Not publishing these cartoons now that they are the center of the story is an act of supreme and utmost cowardice in the face of intimidation: it is the absolute antithesis of a what a free press is supposed to be about.

They're not particular well-drawn, they're not really all that funny, and yes, they're certainly offensive to a lot of people who've something of a career out of being offended. So? They're fucking political cartoons: they're SUPPOSED to be offensive.

Posted by: Dave J at February 8, 2006 01:33 AM

I would say, the such destructive way the Muslims have chosen to protest the cartoons has made this news. With that, these cartoons should be published in newspapers.

The StarTribune attempted to justify there choice not to publish the cartoons. http://www.startribune.com/blogs/editors/

This is a sensitive subject, but that seems to never have stopped the media before. They don't hesitate to show pictures of anti-semitic acts, or anti-christian stuff, why are they drawing the line here?

Posted by: Jeff S at February 8, 2006 08:28 AM


Well. Here they are! Now you can boldly go where so few major American news outlets have gone before.


Posted by: Marti at February 8, 2006 04:19 PM

"They're not particular well-drawn, they're not really all that funny, and..."

They're not even all cartoons.

I'd forgotten it was Taibbi who did that Pope thing. What a putz.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at February 9, 2006 03:43 AM
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