In today's Washington Post two world class moralizers and pontificators -- William Bennett and Alan Dershowitz -- are the latest to continue the tsk-tsk assault on the mainstream media for having chosen not to publish images blasphemous to the entire Muslim world. There are the same wrong-headed analogies (Ariel Sharon depicted as Hitler is an offensive image, but one that involves a modern day politician, not a Prophet and cornerstone of an entire religion) and the same stale platitudes about the "surrender" of the "free press" as if fealty to the First Amendment demands that we publish anything and everything without regard to its impact.
Moreover by questioning why the US media won't publish these cartoons when they are willing to show photos of the horrors at Abu Ghraib or unearth warantless wiretips by the Bush administration, Bennett and Dershowitz display a frightening ignorance about the difference between classic investigative journalism aimed at holding a government accountable and displaying an inflammatory photograph in order to score points and tout superior values in a perceived clash of civilizations.
I'll make a deal here. If more news organizations acknowledge that security concerns were a factor in their decisions, will these media critics admit that their desire to see the cartoons published has a lot to do with their personal Middle East politics?