The Potent Press

The mighty pen has shaped much of our modern history.

Fleming Rose, editor of Jyllands-Posten, made a bold decision in publishing the now 12 famous/infamous cartoons. He has provided ammo for both radical Islamists and far right nationalist parties in Europe. His single action has sped up the inevitable situation where Europe fragments along Islamic and Western lines. The cartoons have now been published in over a dozen newspapers worldwide causing protests, riots, death threats, casualties, and even demanding the immediate attention of world leaders. The situation is spinning out of control. The worst is probably yet to come. The press is this powerful. The press is the vanguard of revolution, of change. Consider these newspapers:

  • Il Risorgimento - ("The Resurgence" in Italian) - A liberal, nationalist newspaper founded by Count Camillo Benso di Cavour in 1847. Cavour, editor of the newspaper, used this newspaper to increase his power and influence during the process of Italian unification.
  • L'Ami du peuple - ("The Friend of the People" in French) - A newspaper written by Jean-Paul Marat during the French Revolution. Marat was the prime instigator of the French Revolution.
  • Il Popolo d'Italia - ("The Italian People" in Italian) - A newspaper founded by Benito Mussolini which "became the organ of the Fascist movement".
  • Pravda - ("The Truth" in Russian) - A newspaper used as the official mouthpiece of the Soviet Communist Party in Russia between 1918 and 1991. In the pre-Soviet Union Pravda, Joseph Stalin served as an editor.
  • Iskra - ("The Spark" in Russian) - A newspaper founded by Vladimir Lenin. It was used to bring unity to the Russian Social Democratic movement which later split into the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks.

The war is on the editorial page. Words are weapons.

Posted by Mike Tate at February 12, 2006 8:27 PM
Comments
Comment #124018

Our (red side) are writing a lot about this subject. The other side claims to be on the side of expression, but looks for nuance.

The funny part is the the blue (and many greens) are constantly on the lookout for crimes of right wing Christians. Almost any religious statement is enough to bring on their wrath, as long as it is Christian religion.

Their bluff is called on this. Either they accept that religious groups can censor what they find offensive, or they should get on the right side on the issue.

I will repeat the analogy of PETA throwing red paint on old ladies in fur while leaving Hell Angels in leather alone. It is easy to be mad as hell against someone who won’t really fight back.

Posted by: Jack at February 12, 2006 9:04 PM
Comment #124025
The funny part is the the blue (and many greens) are constantly on the lookout for crimes of right wing Christians. Almost any religious statement is enough to bring on their wrath, as long as it is Christian religion.

Their bluff is called on this.

Excuse me? Care to elaborate on these “crimes?”

Posted by: Steve K at February 12, 2006 9:28 PM
Comment #124029

I am using “crimes” in the rhetorical sense. Usually what Christians are accussed of by liberals is being insenstive. A recent post mentioned: “Abortion, Prayer in Schools, the Pledge of Allegiance, Gay Marriage, The Ten Commandments in the public square, Stem Cell research, Intelligent Design, Abstinence only Sex Education, Terry Schivo(sp), and the Air Force religious regulations”

These are worse than the cartoon violence, judging by the lefty reaction.

Posted by: Jack at February 12, 2006 9:45 PM
Comment #124030

The liberals are exposed. They say things like “most print presses in the US weren’t interested enough to print the cartoons”.

Yes, I’m sure the major newspapers in this country were not interested in widespread violence caused by a drawing. Yeah, they tend to stay away from stuff like that. Oh, and did I mention? … Pigs fly too.

Posted by: Ken Cooper at February 12, 2006 9:48 PM
Comment #124038

Why is it that the only ones I hear and see speaking out against the rioting is the right?
Is it because the right are the only ones that can see how stupid it is?
Or is it be cause the left is running scared of a few radical muslims with their collective tails tucked between their legs?
Or maybe they’re hoping that the Muslims will rise up and destroy the ‘religous right’. If that happened then the lefts troubles would really begin.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 12, 2006 10:13 PM
Comment #124048
Why is it that the only ones I hear and see speaking out against the rioting is the right?

I’m a liberal, and I’m 100% opposed to the rioting, death, and arson.

Is it because the right are the only ones that can see how stupid it is? Or is it be cause the left is running scared of a few radical muslims with their collective tails tucked between their legs? Or maybe they’re hoping that the Muslims will rise up and destroy the ‘religous right’. If that happened then the lefts troubles would really begin.

No, no, and no. I guess it’s that I didn’t think that I had to be explicit about something so obvious.

Posted by: LawnBoy at February 12, 2006 10:46 PM
Comment #124087

Mike,

it’s not just the print or news media that has
the power to influence a nation. The entertainment
media has just as much, if not more power, than
all of the “mainstream” ( liberal ) newspapers
combined. More people probably watch American Idol
on a single night than read a daily edition of
The New York Times.

How many people who once thought that homosexuality was a deviant lifestyle have been
swayed towards a more liberal stance by Will and
Grace or Brokeback Mountain? How many people have
turned against the death penalty by Shawshank
Redemption, The Green Mile or will become more
anti-capital punishment, depending on the success
of the upcoming tv program InJustice?

It’s not like cartoons are the only medium the
left has to insult peoples deeply held religious
beliefs. The entertainment industry in the U.S.
( as is their right under our constitution ) has
been a constant source of “blasphemy” for decades
with such big box office “hits” as The Last Temptation of Christ to Dogma to tv’s South Park to The Book of Daniel. I admit that I never saw The Book of Daniel, but I think I understand some of the criticism of the show from the commercials I saw for the show.

“Daniel” appeared to be going out of it’s way to
make a priest and his family look far more dysfunctional than the average NON-religious family. Why was there more than the average
number of “gays” in this family than most “normal”
families? And were Daniels conversations with
“Jesus” supposed to be a sincere attempt at
reverance or a drug induced hallucination? I guess
I’ll never know since the non-violent protests
we have in our civilized country over percieved
blasphemy seemed to have it’s desired affect.

While the three Law & Order shows are some of my
favorite shows to watch, apparently the Executive
Producer, Dick Wolf seems to have an agenda to
smear the image of rich, white, conservative,
Christians and/or Republicans. Surely I’m not the
only person who’s noticed that most of his shows
stories villians ( murderers, molesters and evil
corporate types ) are the previously mentioned
groups.

The U.S. doesn’t have Pravda, but it might as well. The leftist liberal “mainstream” news and
entertainment media sure have their fair share
of… well, let’s just say it’s something that
rhymes with Bolsheviks.

Posted by: Dale Garland at February 13, 2006 1:48 AM
Comment #124191

“I guess it’s that I didn’t think that I had to be explicit about something so obvious.”

This quote from Lawnboy pretty much sums up the problem with the way Republicans view Liberals, and themselves.

It’s easy when one gets isolated in one’s own media universe, to become convinced that one’s party is the sole instrument of salvation for the country. The truth is, though, most people’s basic ideas of law and order are mostly similar.

The Right needs to stop amplifying small differences into huge chasms of misunderstanding. If you think we really disagree that much, then make a test of it: ask us our point of view, instead of assuming it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 13, 2006 8:19 AM
Comment #124218
it’s something that rhymes with Bolsheviks.

Mensheviks?

Posted by: LawnBoy at February 13, 2006 9:07 AM
Comment #124247

Jack,

I don’t understand - what you are saying?

Most people (not just Democrats I hope) would say that anyone in this country can protest anything they damn well want to, but that’s different from actually killing people over it.

Please stop insinuating that democrats somehow support Arab protestors indiscriminately killing people over these cartoons. It’s silly. What I get from it is that you hate terrorism, but not enough to pass up any opportunity to turn any issues into partisan ones and point the finger of blame at Democrats.

Posted by: Max at February 13, 2006 10:05 AM
Comment #124272
I am using ‘crimes’ in the rhetorical sense. Usually what Christians are accussed of by liberals is being insenstive. A recent post mentioned: ‘Abortion, Prayer in Schools, the Pledge of Allegiance, Gay Marriage, The Ten Commandments in the public square, Stem Cell research, Intelligent Design, Abstinence only Sex Education, Terry Schivo(sp), and the Air Force religious regulations.’

These are worse than the cartoon violence, judging by the lefty reaction.

This is a buch of BS, if you’ll pardon my use of the vernacular. A common thread that runs through each any every one of these topics you mention is that fact that liberals (as you appear to use the term) have objections only with regard to religious conservatives (as I use the term) attempting to impose public policy on the populace as a whole to further their (the religious conservatives’) religious world view. It’s not about people expressing religion: it’s about legislating to other people that they must express the same religion as well.

And please, don’t give me the line about this country being founded on Christian principles, etc., etc. Many Americans (myself included) are not Christian yet manage to find a way to be 100% loyal to the Constitution, the laws, and the country without resorting to Christianity in any form. And millions of Christians do that too.

And I’m glad you include so-called “intelligent design” in your list: it demonstrates to me that it is not really a science or even pseudo-science, but religion masquarading in scientific language, as was made abundently clear by the Bush-appointed judge who ruled in the Dover Pa. case.

Posted by: Steve K at February 13, 2006 11:02 AM
Comment #124309

Max and Steve

It is the extent of the outrage.

Max - If you are worried about Christians imposing their beliefs on you, you should be 10 times more worried about Islamic radicals.

That is all I am saying. I don’t say that liberals are soft on terror, or that they don’t love freedom. I am saying that they sometimes have trouble identifying the greater threats to freedom.

Posted by: Jack at February 13, 2006 12:54 PM
Comment #124357

Jack

Let’s see, the religious fundamentalist right has a firm grasp on the handle of my government to the extent that they got the President to mouth the words that it might be alright to teach creationism in public schools. The Islamists are rioting in other countries about a cartoon.

Hmmm, which should I be more concerned about? Well, if I am truly concerned about a religion controlling my life, Chirstianity. If I am more concerned about scoring political points in a blog discussion, Islam.

Does that address your concern?

Posted by: Mental Wimp at February 13, 2006 2:15 PM
Comment #124362
I don’t say that liberals are soft on terror, or that they don’t love freedom. I am saying that they sometimes have trouble identifying the greater threats to freedom.

I’m at a loss to understand what you’re saying here, or see any examples of threats to freedom in the United States that you are pointing to.

Is it a threat to anyone’s freedom if gay marriage is prohibited? Absolutely — to the gay who wish to get married. But is it emphatically NOT a threat to anyone’s freedom if it is allowed.

It certainly is a threat to MY freedom if I am forced to study Christian religion in a public school classroom. But it certainly is NOT a threat to anyone if we simply leave religious instruction to sunday school.

Please point out the “threats to freedom” that liberals have trouble identifying.

Posted by: Steve K at February 13, 2006 2:20 PM
Comment #124470

Can someone please explain to me why I’m supposed to be scared that a few thousand (or even a couple hundred thousand) Muslim extremists are somehow going to take over this great and powerful country?

Thanks!

Posted by: Arr-squared at February 13, 2006 6:23 PM
Comment #124473

Mike,
How can you write on such a topic and not include the most famous example in US history? Two NY papers successfully agitated and helped spark The Spanish American War. It was a nasty little piece of work, lots of exagerrations, half-truths, outright lies, interviews with Cuban revolutionaries without any coverage whatsoever of the Spanish government’s position in Cuba.

Remember the Maine?

How about this term:

Yellow Journalism.

Posted by: phx8 at February 13, 2006 6:34 PM
Comment #124490

phx8:

Thanks for the info.. I only listed a few which I found off the top of the my head, however those newspapers apply as well.

Posted by: Mike Tate at February 13, 2006 7:16 PM
Comment #124654

I hate to generalize people as some posters in this group do, but it seems the “right” or the “reds” (funny, wer’nt the conservatives trying to denounce and eliminate ya’ll back in the fifties?) are constantly trying to place a large cross section of humankind in a neat little box, ‘The Liberals’. I would imagine that I would be termed a “liberal” and considering my views on the enviroment a “tree hugger” also. However, I own and wear leather, live in a house made of wood, I don’t own a gun but believe in the right to keep and bear arms, I believe in the seperation of church and state, I don’t give a rats’s ass whether gays are allowed to marry, and I believe in the right of free speech. I don’t see how I fit your neat little view. The way I see it is my head, arms, legs and butt stick out of your “liberal box”.

Now, why am I not jumping up and down denouncing the irrational, IMO, Muslim reaction? Because I’m not really suprised or truly threatened by thier actions. I do find it ironic that thier reaction to cartoons depicting muslims as violent, head chopping, terrorists is to riot, burn, kidnap and threaten to kill anyone vaguely associated with who made this “insult”.

I don’t think the Danish paper was wrong for publishing these cartoons. I think the one with Mohammed wearing the bomb turban is a fine piece of political cartoon and hit the nail on the head. I don’t see where the American newspapers are obligated to reprint these cartoons. I don’t see where freedom of speech is going to be curtailed where it exists by this. Itmakes me wonder, “what cartoon would I draw as a response to this?”

Most of all I don’t see why you think the “liberals” as a group should get up and start screaming. Hell, whether I like it or not, the US is over there shooting up every radical muslim we can find already. And apparently then some.

You need to find a real topic to bitch about.

Posted by: GMDuggan at February 14, 2006 2:05 AM
Comment #124671

Jack,

[ Our (red side) are writing a lot about this
[ subject. The other side claims to be on the
[ side of expression, but looks for nuance.

Huh? What could you possibly mean by that? That doesn’t even make sense!

[The funny part is the the blue (and many [greens) are constantly on the lookout for [crimes of right wing Christians. Almost any [religious statement is enough to bring on their [wrath, as long as it is Christian religion.

This is not only a rediculous comment, but you have offended me as well. I consider myself a Christian, and yet I am disturbed mightlily by what I consider to infantile and spirtually shallow points of view held by the religious right. I was handed anti-Catholic hate liturature while walking out of Mass with my parents when I was kid. I had evangelicals try to convert me when I was in first grade because they didn’t like the idea that I was in the process of preparing for first communion. I watched, recently, as the latest Supreme court case involving prayer in school arose and the Religious right (but wrong) types failed to mention that the involved a group of high school kids in the Santa Fe school district of South East Texas who were excluded from there homeroom class prayers because they were Jews, Mormons and Catholics. I have seen mind bogglingly obvious wrongs committed by people who merely call themselves Christian but haven’t the foggiest idea what that REALLY means. It is NOT Christianity we on the left take issue with. It is INFANTILE Christianity that is the issue.

[Their bluff is called on this. Either they [accept that religious groups can censor what [they find offensive, or they should get on the [right side on the issue.

Again, you aren’t making sense. Who’s bluff are you referring to? What bluff? If you are advocating RELIGIOUS based censorship…well, that’s simply un-American…not to mention illegal.

[I will repeat the analogy of PETA throwing red [paint on old ladies in fur while leaving Hell [Angels in leather alone. It is easy to be mad [as hell against someone who won’t really fight [back.

There is a basic principal here that seems lost on you. Gandhi was a lawyer, trained in England. The very authority he helped vanquish by peaceful resistence. He actually RESPECTED English common law. He was successful nly because he knew there was an inherent moral conscience within Britain, her subjects and her laws. Likewise, Throwing paint on old ladies wearing fur has happened because it is assessed by those activists that those old ladies likely will, eventually (after they are over their anger) lead to a awareness of conscience that the Hell’s Angels aren’t likely to arrive at. Also, starting a fight with a bunch of Hell’s Angels doesn’t accomplish anything and is not likely to interpreted as having anything to do with their leather clothing. Your effort to witty or to make some sort of pointed observation fails on it’s face.

RGF

Posted by: RGF at February 14, 2006 3:27 AM
Comment #125057
I had evangelicals try to convert me when I was in first grade because they didn’t like the idea that I was in the process of preparing for first communion. … I have seen mind bogglingly obvious wrongs committed by people who merely call themselves Christian but haven’t the foggiest idea what that REALLY means. It is NOT Christianity we on the left take issue with. It is INFANTILE Christianity that is the issue.

RGF,

While we’re on the topic of what drives us crazy with religion, my pet peeve is evangelicals who come up to my house, ring my doorbell, and try to convert me. I point out the Mezzuzah on the doorpost but don’t know what it is. How can you know the “truth” if you can’t even recognize someone else’s religion?

I know they mean no harm, but it really pisses me off that someone can claim to know what’s right for someone else, but not even know the bare minimum about person’s faith.

Posted by: Steve K at February 14, 2006 5:06 PM
Comment #125562

Yellow Journalism. What today’s liberal news media usually practices. Only nowadays they call it “journalism”. By the way, despite all of their squawking, the news media do not have a divine right to know everything when they want to know it. Freedom of the press? Freedom of privacy. How is it that MSNBC feels that the whole 60 minutes should be devoted to this accidental shooting? They could ask old Teddy K. about his “accident”. We never did get a straight answer on that, now did we?

Posted by: JD Arnold at February 15, 2006 4:48 PM
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