Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tough Guys When It Suits 'Em

Last week the Tribune Co. had their lawyers go to Federal Court in order to argue that the Tribune Co. should have access to top-secret testimony involving undercover Israeli agents; agents who would be murdered by Palestinians were their cover blown. The Tribune Co. demanded to see the secret testimony due to some level of newsworthiness and because one or more editors were uncomfortable with the proceedings. I should add that this organization has been in the news for some time and that it is easy to be uncormfortable with foreign testimony in our courts, I could never figure out where the Tribune came into this. The Tribune has yet to report on the potential uncomfortableness of the undercover Israeli agents. Two years ago the Tribune Co. had it’s lawyers go into Federal Court in Los Angeles in order to publicize a sealed divorce record; a move that was fought by all of the parties to the divorce. The Tribune Co. succeeded in publicizing the divorce record of the Senate candidate and gave proof to the stories about those files that had been circulating in local political circles for some time. Clearly the Tribune is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to get a story when they want to. This week, in a move deserving a chapter in the yet to written “Profiles in Cowardice” the Tribune editorial board has spared it’s readers the shock of seeing cartoons that are less than flattering to the memory of a man whom some consider to have been a prophet. For decades the Tribune has been reporting on violent attacks by followers of that prophet on members of virtually every other faith throughout the world; the common theme of these reports has been that the attackers stated that they killed in the name of Islam. The reports of the use of what can only be called a war cry, “Allah Akbar”, were so ubiquitous that it became a punch line over twenty years ago. Another recurring theme in those violent attacks has been the promise of seventy-two virgins in heaven to men who die while murdering others in the name of their prophet and the advancement of Islam. You don’t need to be Howard Stern to get some mileage out of that one. Considering those realities, the two cartoons that Clarence Page referred to today (Feb. 8 linked at the bottom) are not unreasonable cartoons. Most of us recognize that the couple down the street isn’t going to slay us over a Christmas display or a Menorah in a window; they are just trying to get through the week like the rest of us. However, we need to recognize that there are some parts of the world where that simply is not true. This would be a very good time for the decent Muslim people of America to acknowledge to the world that freedom of the press means sometimes getting your own ox gored. This incident should make us wonder, if the Tribune Co. is going to succumb to the censorship of intimidation what standing should we give them as a news organization?,0,796534.column?coll=chi-ed_opinion_columnists-utl


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