Thursday, August 04, 2005

Equal Time for Islamists?

In an article by Daniel Pipes he explains why he doesn't argue in public with apologists for terror.
The more important reason for selective debate concerns extremism. For example, I have argued that television programmers should “close their doors” to one person because his fringe views preclude a constructive discussion (he lauded Chinese mass-murderer Mao Tse-tung for achievements which “can hardly be overstated”). After advocating this course of action, how can I then be party to this person’s appearing on television?

Television offers a unique medium for getting one’s ideas out to large numbers of people, especially when presented in a lively debate format, so I regret not appearing on screen. I find myself in a dilemma, wishing to accept television invitations but sometimes unable to.

This dilemma results from the flawed reasoning of television executives in democracies. My conversations with insiders reveal that they include extremists for three main reasons. First, because good viewer ratings are generated by impassioned, articulate, and known panelists with sharply clashing viewpoints. With this, I have no problem.

Second, today’s media strives toward impartiality. For instance, a memo distributed to Canadian Broadcast Corporation staff cautions against using the words “terrorist” and “terrorism,” because these “can leave journalists taking sides in a conflict.” The conceit that media have no stake in the outcome of war is terribly wrong; just imagine how television talk shows would be after these same terrorists took over. (They did not flourish under the Taliban, to put it mildly.)

Third – and quite contradictorily – when pressed about the appropriateness of broadcasting the enemy’s view, producers assert they are doing a public service by exposing these. Is freedom of speech, they ask, not premised on the open marketplace of ideas? And does that not imply having faith that an informed citizenry will discern the sensible from the wrong-headed?

Yes, but also no. Freedom of speech means speaking one’s mind, without fear of going to jail; it does not imply the privilege to address a television audience.
He also mentions how he was blindsided by a terror-supporting writer from Newsweek Magazine.

Francis Porretto at Eternity Road elaborates on this theme and carries it a bit further.
Consider all the following statements of opinion:

1. Blacks are inherently inferior to whites, and therefore laws to keep them apart are desirable.
2. Jews are incapable of assimilating into Christian cultures, and should be kept out of them.
3. Women's mental and physical capacities are unequal to the demands of the workaday world; therefore, they should all stay at home where they'll be safe.
4. Homosexuals are a threat to the purity of our precious bodily fluids, and should be herded into concentration camps in the name of public safety.
5. The humiliation of Islam by American actions and policies justifies any violence whatsoever, even the mass murder of women and children, to redress the crimes America has committed.

Your Curmudgeon cannot even imagine a twenty-first century American television station allowing the expression of opinions 1 through 4 over its airwaves. But several have allowed opinion 5 to play. Sometimes they even seem to solicit it.

No pretense of "objectivity" can account for this contradiction. If the first four stances, none of which explicitly advocate murder, are unacceptable and must be precluded from televised discourse, then why is opinion 5 deemed otherwise? Do broadcast executives hold different moral standards than your Curmudgeon? Do they think their viewers' standards are in accord with theirs, or are they hoping to bend their viewers' opinions of the unacceptable by implicitly legitimizing it?
I would like to add to that. We are also subjected to a barrage of "blame the Jews" in order to excuse the murder of innocents around the world. There was a time, not too long ago, when the "blame the Jews" attitude was ridiculed as it should be along with the hate-spewing groups like the KKK, White Supremacists, etc.

The Detroit News runs a column every Saturday by a local religious leader. They rotate among the various religions and denominations. The Imam Elahi is the Muslim representative. While the other religious writers talk about religious or cummunity issues, Iman Elahi is unique in that no matter what his theme is, there is always at least one sentence either implicitly or explicitly condemning Israel and/or Jews. His most recent rant is here. I'm not a fan of censorship, but when running Imam Elahi's screeds, the Detroit News editors need to ask themselves if they would run columns blaming any other minority group who was being viciously attacked, by constantly writing articles claiming that the group is question is bringing it on themselves. Especially when they know that those claims are totally bogus.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>
War's legitimate object is more perfect peace. Flavius Vegitius Renatus This is an optional footer. If you want text here, place it inside these tags, and remove this comment.