Saturday, January 10, 2015


Ironic isn't nearly a strong enough term for how corporate pundits use solemn tones in tearful defense of "free speech" when condemning the assassination of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, all while actually censoring their work by refusing to re-publish the actual images (much less with translations).

Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi approached that kind of critique yesterday after he delved into a tangential comparison with the AP's archiving of an image of Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ," which Matt describes as "a set piece of a crucifix submerged in the artist's own urine, caused Serrano to receive death threats back in the day."

But unusually for Taibbi he approaches but missed the mark in his tome.

Here's the Associated Press' lame excuse for condemning the gun-assisted censorship out of one side of their mouths while essentially censoring the cartoons out of the other:

"We’ve taken the view that we don’t want to publish hate speech or spectacles that offend, provoke or intimidate, or anything that desecrates religious symbols or angers people along religious or ethnic lines...We don’t feel that’s useful."

What a pile of horsesh*t.

The reality is that "without fear or favor"- at least in the case of the former- is anything but in play here. It's actually a matter of a lack of any semblance of the courage that presenting the background necessary to understand the "news" would entail. After all, isn't "in depth reporting" what they all claim they strive to do?

Now no one is saying that Brian Williams and Wolf Blitzer need to put their lives on the line and surround themselves with armed bodyguards in order to protect free speech. Fear, if not outright cowardice, is a perfectly acceptable excuse here. But don't give us some gobbledygook about propriety as you present the nightly infotaining celebrity blood-letting which you laughingly call the news.

If The NY times- which issued a similar convoluted "explanation" today- is scared to reproduce these cartoons and inform people as to what exactly these raving religious lunatics had their panties in a bunch over, just say so. But don't hide behind some sort of moralistic doubletalk all the while claiming to stand in solidarity with the people who really have the courage to satirize those who so richly deserve it.