Sunday, February 12, 2006

Fish in a Barrel

The moonbats must have took their ginseng this week, as the wackiness descended to new lows. The main theme of the opinion section in today's Strib was (yet again) gay marriage. It was a vigorous debate featuring no less than three pieces advocating in favor of this hotbutton oxymoron of the day (notice how you can't spell "oxymoron" without "moron").

I'm not writing to discuss that.

Kate Parry's column appeared today. It was, of course, about the decision not to publish the cartoons.

But first, let's take a look at the results from the latest KAR poll, which asked what our readers thought would be the gist of her column today:

The top vote getter with 26% was "Everyone agrees: LearnedFoot is a superhunk!" While this speaks well of our readership's aesthetic sensibilities, it also indicates that they are as good as the Nihilist in Golf Pants when making predictions.

Second place with 24% was the close, but no cigar response of "The decision not to publish the cartoons was correct and gutsy. Don't you people have anything better to do than bother me with your complaints?"

To the 20% of you that picked the fourth-placed response, I say: pat yourselves on the back, you are indeed correct:

"The decision not to publish the cartoons was correct, and who the hell do you think you are anyway to question our wisdom?!"

Yes, the article was headlined: "Free speech, common sense can coexist"

Got that? If you reach a different conclusion, you don't have common sense. To her, the paper's decision wasn't even debatable; it was axiomatic:

The corpse is sprawled in a pool of blood, one foot still resting inside the bullet-riddled car from which he tumbled in death.

I think you get the picture. I don't need to show you the photograph of the shooting down in Acapulco for you to understand what happened.

That image stares up at me from a pile of photographs on my desk that includes a man grieving over a crushed body after a stampede in Manila, another of a man holding body parts aloft after a missile hit Gaza City and a photo of the charred body of a racehorse -- its head strangely up in the air as though the dead horse is looking around -- after a racetrack fire in Eureka, Kan.
All of those images that came over the news wires in the past month were somewhat newsworthy; none was published in the Star Tribune
.

The arrogance and low expectations of the readership's intelligence in this piece is stunning. She actually expects us to swallow the assertion that there's no difference between publishing a picture of a grisly murder scene, and publishing a representation of something that someone deems "offensive." In the former, we don't need a visual of the murder scene because it doesn't advance the story and one pretty much figures that it will be gross. But in the later case it's a subjective judgment that requires someone to actually reach the conclusion that Parry prefers be fed to us by a gate keeper.

It's Parry's typical dodge. A diversion. This issue is not free speech or publishing inflamatory things or the sensibilities of some group. It's about selective self-censorship. Don't believe me? Ask yourself this:

Had those same cartoons been doodles on a legal pad drawn by George Bush during a cabinet meeting, which were then leaked to the press (by the CIA, obviously) would the American press show the same restraint they're showing here?

If you think the answer is "yes," you are either a cretin or a newspaper's ombudsman.

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