Diogenes, put down your lantern.
An alternative weekly in Boston has been honest about why it didn’t print the Danish cartoons. Instead of a lot of hot air about editorial judgments, the Boston Phoenix has told the truth. In a candid editorial, the newspaper’s editors explain:
“There are three reasons not to publish the Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed with his turban styled as a bomb (to view the cartoons, click here) and the other images that have sparked violent protests and deaths throughout Europe, the Middle East, West Asia, and Indonesia:
“Out of fear of retaliation from the international brotherhood of radical and bloodthirsty Islamists who seek to impose their will on those who do not believe as they do. This is, frankly, our primary reason for not publishing any of the images in question. Simply stated, we are being terrorized, and as deeply as we believe in the principles of free speech and a free press, we could not in good conscience place the men and women who work at the Phoenix and its related companies in physical jeopardy. As we feel forced, literally, to bend to maniacal pressure, this may be the darkest moment in our 40-year publishing history.”
Okay, it’s not heroic. But it’s true and so much better than, say, Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell pathetic attempt to swagger while capitulating.