In this little rant yesterday, I observed that the press' (I'm am trying to eschew use of the tired and overused "MSM") historical lack of self censorship, especially in cases where a little tongue-biting may save the lives of innocents. In my haste to realize a cathartic release, I forgot the most glaring example: the Abu Ghraib story.
Despite the early speculation that the release of photos of some ugly chick pointing at Iraqi prisoners' schlongs might inflame - and offend - Muslims in general and Iraqis in particular, perhaps leading to backlashes and escalated violence against Americans in country, just about every press outlet in existence breathlessly printed every picture they could get their hands on. In one of the more notable self-writing jokes, Ted Kennedy vehemently demanded that all known photos from that prison which showed, uh, exotic interrogation techniques be made public. The New York Times had a front page article about the incident EVERY SINGLE DAY for something like four months. Damn the consequences! Sure, the pictures and the deeds depicted in them may be "offensive" or "inflammatory" but, damn it, the people had a right to know. Not only did we have a right to know, but the papers apparently thought we had the right to be bludgeoned about the head repeatedly by the story until all perspective was lost.
But a stupid cartoon... Too offensive. Too inflammatory. Apparently there are some facts that are so uncomfortable that it necessitates telling an incomplete story.
No, the cartoons themselves and the overwrought reaction to them reflect poorly on someone other than us or our leaders, so it's not that important.