Tyranny and Terrorism
Comments 4

Wait a tic, Charlie Hebdo

I’m confused…
Ministers in Europe are calling on internet providers to identify and remove online content “that aims to incite hatred and terror.

Will that also include the website of Charlie Hebdo?
Because if you print a magazine with a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on the front, and you know that to do so is considered blasphemy, by most of 1.5 billion people… give or take…
Isn’t that inciting hatred?

Aren’t the one’s doing just such an act, in the European country with the largest Muslim population, by far, kinda guaranteeing that hatred?
Aren’t they rather begging for it?

Surely they’re not still unsure as to how such a cover might be received by 22% of the world’s population. Surely there’s no question of how the people the cover was aimed at feel about this additional affront to all they hold dear.

Questions of free speech aside, for the moment – are they, or are they not, inciting hatred?
Can’t the ones who ignore the consequences of their actions in cases like this be justifiably incarcerated? For their own protection?
Or ours?

Shouldn’t they be held responsible for any terror that ensues?
Especially now?

DO NOT mistake what I’m saying here.
I DO NOT condone anything the shooters in Paris did.
Or the shooters in Peshawar. Or Nigeria.
Or any other untold number of instances of religious/racial intolerance.
Like Selma. Or Ferguson. Or Staten Island.

What I want to know is: why are these French journalists being given a laissez-passer gratuit.
Journalists… HAH!… they’re not even real reporters.
They’re satirists. Comedians. It’s a glorified high school newspaper.
Why aren’t they subject to the same standard as ordinary citizens?

Freedom of the press, you say…
You think this is about freedom of the press?
Freedom of the press, my ass…
Let a ‘journalist’ in this country insult the Catholic church, or the Jewish faith, to the same degree that Charlie Hebdo has done, and watch them get shut down faster than you can blink.

But if it’s not about freedom of the press, then why the double standard?
Why are we not condemning an action specifically designed to insult, to enflame?

I’m kind of at a loss to explain it. I don’t know why the press feels they’re exempt from the rules of common decency. If you know something will upset someone, why in the world would you go out of your way to hammer the point?
What are you thinking?
Because you think a fifth of the world’s population is wrong?
Because you know better?
Well, now… who are you?
Who appointed you as their God?

There are clear-cut legal precedents, all over the world, about knowing that you’re inciting someone to violence; and just exactly who is legally to blame in those cases.
Why are journalists not held to these standards?
One is tempted to begin to view Charlie, not as a bastion of the ‘right to know’, but more like a muckraker of the vilest sort; stirring the pot of unrest, so that they might have something to write about. Honestly, I can’t see any other rationale for them being lauded the way they are.

For my money, the press loses it’s ‘immunity’ the minute it begins to knowingly insult a religion, or bully a political party, or attempt to dictate how any of us should feel about the issues they report on. The press stops being praiseworthy the moment it thinks a story like Charlie is more important than that of 140+ children being massacred in Pakistan, simply for going to school.

I did a few simple web searches, from the home page of the NY Times’ web site, on Friday night, at 6:45pm.
For the first search, I typed in “Pakistan Peshawar school attack”, and hit ‘enter’.
I got back 247 results… since 1851… which is understandable.
Some of those hits might be about a Pakistani election, or any number of reasons for a story on Pakistan.

For my next search, I typed in “Charlie Hebdo”, and hit ‘enter’.
I got 493 results… and counting…
In the last 30 days…
You can guess which story the Times thinks is important.

I think their bias is showing.

The NY Times is all over Charlie Hebdo. Ostensibly because it’s a Fourth Estate issue. But the truth is, it’s an issue that the media can claim is about the freedom of speech, without having to make any risky speeches. It’s really only a freedom of the press issue because the press keeps on insisting that it is one. It’s the stockpiling of Freedom ‘credits’ for later use; something to trot out the next time they face a subpoena.

“Look at how vigorously we’ve defended free speech in the past.”

If someone’s going to get slapped down for printing something, you can pretty much bet those in the printing business are going to be up in arms about it. If someone comes along and says that big pharma is the leading cause of dangerous side-effects amongst users of their products, I would expect big pharma to have a few choice words on the matter. And if the EPA were to say that automobiles are the leading cause of death, I’d expect that the EPA is going to become rather unpopular… at least around the Great Lakes region.

The Times is upset, because they see what happened in Paris as a threat to their business.
Which I can understand… I truly do.
I just find the heavy-handed tone of outraged righteousness to be disingenuous.

But then, the Times hasn’t been about news for a long time (sic) now. The reporters of the Times have been skewing so far towards opinion in their articles,  I wonder if anyone over there even recognizes pure journalism, any more.

Again on Friday night, I went to their home page, and clicked on the very first article. Their choice. Not mine. The reporter of that article made it all the way to the second sentence, before he skewed into conjecture; guessing as he did on the likely outcome of his first sentence.

Impressive journalistic restraint.

Nouns and verbs. That’s all you’re allowed, as a reporter.
Nouns and verbs. After that, it melts into opinion.
I’m appalled at how many people these days don’t seem to understand that.
I’m appalled at how many people see the words before them, and yet cannot read.

He did this.
She said that.
They went to the other.
Period. End of report.
Once you insert the first adjective, once you embellish with the first adverb, you’ve left the hallowed precincts of journalism, and begun Creative Writing.
You’ve exited journalism, and entered opinion.

Those men who died in Paris were not journalists.

They were terrorists, as sure as the ones who gunned them down.
They died, trying to impose their secular views upon an entire religion – the same as those who die trying to force their religious views upon others are also terrorists.

It is the same… tyrannical… difference…

It would appear to me that the reason so many people are upset about the senseless deaths in Paris, is only because they happen to have been our terrorists…

 

PS. I have what would seem to be a breaking story of my own to report.

To the NY Times, and the Washington Post and the Independent and Le Mondé, and all media outlets everywhere – the fact that your opinion appears in your own vehicle doesn’t make that opinion news.

But then, that’s not really news, either…
It’s just a theory…
I could be wrong…

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4 Comments

  1. Bravo! I have been biting my tongue all week as people around me whom I respect and care about are jumping onto the “Je suis Charlie” bandwagon. You have nailed it: hatefulness and aggression can be as great from the pen as from the sword, and should not be surprised by the consequences of their intentional provocation. I’ve. been working on verse, this week, about this too. If it shapes up well, I’ll post it soon. Thanks for your excellent theorizing!

    Liked by 1 person

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