February 08, 2006

Quote of the Day

The Washington Post's Anne Applebaum, on "less attractive political undercurrents" of the Danish cartoon scandal:

Hypocrisy of the right-wing blogosphere. Remember the controversy over Newsweek and the Koran? Last year Newsweek printed an allegation about mistreatment of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base that -- although strikingly similar to interrogation techniques actually used to intimidate Muslims at Guantanamo -- was not substantiated by an official government investigation. It hardly mattered: Abroad, Muslim politicians and clerics promoted and exaggerated the Koran story, just as they are now promoting and exaggerating the Danish cartoon story. The result was rioting and violence on a scale similar to the rioting and violence of the past week.

But although that controversy was every bit as manipulated as this one, self-styled U.S. "conservatives" blamed not cynical politicians and clerics but Newsweek for (accidentally) inciting violence in the Muslim world: "Newsweek lied, people died." Worse, much of the commentary implied that Newsweek was not only wrong to make a mistake (which it was) but also that the magazine was wrong to investigate the alleged misconduct of U.S. soldiers. Logically, the bloggers should now be attacking the Danish newspaper for (less accidentally) inciting violence in the Muslim world. Oddly enough, though, I've heard no cries of "Jyllands-Posten insulted, people died." The moral is: We defend press freedom if it means Danish cartoonists' right to caricature Muhammad; we don't defend press freedom if it means the mainstream media's right to investigate the U.S. government.

But Applebaum, known as somewhat of a conservative, doesn't give the cultural left a pass either.

Posted by Stephen Silver at February 8, 2006 09:48 PM

Why or why do you keep talking about the same story...again and again?

Posted by: A at February 9, 2006 09:14 AM

I think Applebaum's criticim on a grand level is fine, however I think she oversimplified the general consensus of the "right wing blogosphere" over the Newsweek Koran episode.

It was more the State Department and the White House that was critical of it because it would incire violence.

The RWB was also critical of the Muslim hordes for being such little babies and basically killing if they feel offended.

Further, the RWB focussed on the intentional (or grossly negligent acts) of Newsweek whose aim was not the truth, but to undermine George Bush.

Yes, there was some handwringing in some corners about - oh, how dare you stir raise the slumber Muslim street, but in general it is not fair to compare an intentional attempt to attack the president with the Danish cartoons. Applebaum missed the above described important context and thus her point is not as effective.

Posted by: J. Lichty at February 9, 2006 12:29 PM

Of course Power Line does a much better job than I about exposing the shallowness of Applebaum's conclusion.


Posted by: J. Lichty at February 9, 2006 12:37 PM
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