If riots weren’t enough, it seems that the top editorial brass of The New York Press has resigned because the NYP publisher got cold feet over publishing the infamous Muhammad cartoons published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.
I have little to say on the matter that Laila hasn’t said already, but with the exception that reprinting a cartoon doesn’t necessarily mean that you subscribe to its message or that you are even subconsciously declaring to someone that their views are worthless. If anything, this whole mess limns in full the mighty communicative gulf between East and West, Muslims and Christians, and violent provocateurs and nonviolent provocateurs. But for the Western newspapers, in the end, this is as clear-cut as shouting fire in a crowded theatre. Yes, the freedom and the right to say it is there. (See Brandenburg v. Ohio 395 U.S. 44.) But know what you are unveiling when you say it. The fundamental distinction lies not with the message, but with the separation between speech and action.