Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Anne Applebaum in the spotlight

If you've read Anne Applebaum's Op-Ed in the Washington Post on the Cartoon War, you really have to Powerline's and the Captain's criticism. It does leave her help in framing the events in the dustbin.

This from Captain Ed, makes her whole comparison of the current controversy with the controversy ensuing from Newsweek's Koran story awfully useless:
Perhaps Applebaum has hung around American newsrooms too long to notice the difference, but editorial cartoons express opinion, while news reporting is supposed to deliver facts. Newsweek didn't publish a cartoon of a GI flushing a Qu'ran down a toilet. They reported as fact that American soldiers had done so, with the thinnest of sourcing and without attempting to corroborate the information. Newsweek didn't investigate at all -- they just took the word of a single source and put it in their magazine. [Italics in original.]
I'm a little disappointed in Applebaum's column introduction on a few points. Here's two.

First, editorial cartoons are not intended as light humor. Most cartoonist don't and I don't think we do either because of that. Calling it light humor misses the whole point of the art form and belittles it because editorial cartoons are supposed to sharp needles and from what has gone on as a result of not only the Jyllands-Posten cartoons but the Post's recent Tom Tooles cartoon, light humor were their least descriptive essense.

Second, Anne Applebaum notes, "It has sparked riots in Surabaya, Tehran, Peshawar and rural Somalia, places where there aren't many Americans in the best of times. Perhaps that explains the muted American reactions to the violence, anger and deaths -- nine so far -- sparked by a dozen Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad." Perhaps the muted American reaction is due the feckless and superficial reporting in the press and television. Only two major US papers have published the cartoons so that the reason for the riots can be put in stark perspective. Whenever they are described, only the bomb turbaned Mohammed is mentioned as representative of the twelve. And Applebaum entirely ignores, as have the press and television, that there is a strong "Buy Danish" campaign waged on the Internet -- I've seen two Buy Danish t-shirts 'on the street' and, no, they weren't being worn by me.

Maybe she's right. Maybe there is a muted reaction and what I see is less reflective of the America's reaction than hers. Maybe people aren't getting excited over what they see in the Muslim world almost every single day on almost every single subject.

There is thing I have seen with regard to American reaction that is notable and while I do not have cable, I do watch the three Broadcast stations, and PBS news (tv and radio), (as well as BBC News on PBS) and read the papers. What is notable is that the American Media has consistently been about a week or more behind on everything with this story. So badly are they doing that that today, Febuary 8, was the first time that I have seen them mention Laban's involvement in the controversy, and the mention of the three additional cartoons he added to twelve as he went on a tour of the Middle East. This has been a subject of the blogosphere for at least a month. They mentioned nothing as yet that the cartoons are fraudulant and that one is not even of Mohammed but a comedian dressed up for a pig calling contest That has been a subject for at almost as long so we should hear about it from the Media around the end of February.

How's that for muted.


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