ANGER STIRRED

Two student editors at the University of Illinois have been suspended for unauthorised publication of blasphemous Motoons. Defending themselves, the pair should cite SBS executive producer Mike Carey’s reasons for broadcasting similarly controversial images. “I’m a reporter,” said fearless Carey. “We put them to air because it’s our responsibility as reporters to get this stuff on air.”

You tell ‘em, Mike! Those two-year-old pictures needed to be seen so that people—especially those members of the enraged Arabcommunity—would be fully informed:

Previously unpublished images of apparent abuse of prisoners at the US-run Abu Ghraib prison, broadcast by Australia’s SBS television on Thursday, have stirred up more anger among Arabs after being shown by Arab stations.

The images, also published yesterday at smh.com.au, were swiftly re-broadcast by Arab satellite television stations and several news organisations including American ABC News television.

The pictures further enraged Arabs, already incensed by the publication on Sunday of images of British soldiers apparently beating Iraqi youths and by cartoons satirising the Prophet Mohammad printed in European papers this month.

Note again the willingness of the media to excite Muslim anger in cases where none of that anger might be directed towards the media. Well, that’s not exactly true; SBS is willing to excite Muslim anger towards the Danish media by inaccurately reporting that an image of pig-snouted Mohammed was among the cartoons published by Jyllands-Posten. That error would have been avoided if SBS had researched and broadcast the original 12 cartoons; you know, because it’s “our responsibility as reporters to get this stuff on air.”

But that would have placed SBS at risk (at the least, of appearing insensitive). And that’s a risk SBS won’t take. Risk to coalition troops is another matter:

In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, said abuses at Abu Ghraib prison had already been “fully investigated”, and the US Defence Department believed the release of the images was harmful and “could only further inflame and possibly incite unnecessary violence in the world”.

However, in Sydney, Dateline’s executive producer, Mike Carey, dismissed the US military’s criticism as a joke. “Troops are already at great risk in Iraq,” he said.

You aren’t, Mike. Your network has made sure of that.

UPDATE. In other cartoon developments, Michael Leunig anticipated hate following his appearance in an Iranian Jew-mocking contest:

Leunig said he was dreading the next few weeks “because the spotlight has moved from this mischief to the content of the cartoon. I’m expecting hateful criticism”.

Here it comes, Duckman—from the Sydney Morning Herald’s Richard Glover:

Mr Michael Leunig, the Melbourne cartoonist, is angry that his work has been entered into an international competition for anti-Semitic cartooning. Mr Leunig asserts, and the Herald accepts, that he would never have entered such a competition himself, as there was far too high a chance of him winning.

UPDATE II. Motoon mortality is on the rise:

Three people have died and franchises of a Norwegian phone firm, a US fast food restaurant and banks have been set ablaze in Pakistan, the third day of violence over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

More than 20,000 people, including traders, students and Islamist radicals, took part in protests in cities in North West Frontier Province and the eastern city of Lahore.

UPDATE III. A cartoon-related cash prize:

A Pakistani cleric announced Friday a $1 million bounty for killing a cartoonist who drew Prophet Muhammad, as thousands joined street protests and Denmark temporarily closed its embassy and advised its citizens to leave the country.

UPDATE IV. Andrew Bolt:

A Danish newspaper mocks Islam for being violent, and an Islamist newspaper hits back by mocking Jews for being dead. That’s a warning.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/17/2006 at 02:38 PM
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