Home > Go Ezra Go, human rights > Michael Coren on Ezra Levant… and Me

Michael Coren on Ezra Levant… and Me

January 19th, 2008

The real issue here is not about a weak or fearful press becoming “more responsive to Muslim sensitivities than to truth or the concerns of any other group,” … or about pandering to any segment of society.

Rather, it is about cultural sensitivity, social responsibility and common sense. Freedom of speech is not and never has been an absolute. “The most stringent protection of free speech would not,” Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote, “protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre.” This right carries with it a need to be responsible for one’s actions.

Garry Trudeau, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and creator of Doonesbury, sums it up best: “Just because a society has almost unlimited freedom of expression doesn’t mean we should ever stop thinking about its consequences in the real world.” Exactly…

Let’s change the visual for a moment. One of the cartoons basically portrayed the Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist.

So, how would a Catholic react to a cartoon of Christ sexually abusing a child, published at the height of the controversy about Catholic priests sexually abusing boys?…

Newspapers have an obligation to their communities to inform, entertain, educate and explain, to place events in context, in such a way as to make them not only understandable, but useful. Newspapers also have a duty to provoke and challenge — to act as a conduit for discussion and debate.

But there is a world of difference between discussion and debate and engaging in sweeping generalizations and racist stereotyping…

Just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should do it.

The above was written by Jim Jennings at the Toronto Sun in Feb 2006, explaining why they did not publish the now infamous “Muhammad cartoons”. I called it cowardice at the time, and it’s still cowardice. So it’s interesting that today Michael Coren writes in the same newspaper about Ezra Levant, the Alberta Human Rights Commission, and “the real reason the cartoons were not published, of course, is that people were terrified of the consequences.”:

Actually the real disgrace here is that the Western Standard was the only Canadian publication to print the cartoons. They should have been featured in every media outlet in the country, in that they made international news. The ostensible reason that they weren’t published was that they were, yet again, offensive.

So bloody what? Canadian newspapers publish cartoons that are offensive to Christians, for example, dozens of times a year. Tolerating that which offends is part of being an adult, being sensible and being part of an adult, sensible county with an adult, sensible culture. Or at least it was.

The real reason the cartoons were not published, of course, is that people were terrified of the consequences. In some cases editors had private security companies give them estimates of how much it would cost to protect their buildings. Which is not only cowardly, but deeply insulting to Canadian Muslims, who are some of the most moderate in the Islamic diaspora.

The editors at the good old New York Times pretentiously explained why they wouldn’t publish pictures of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. They could, they said, adequately explain the cartoons in words. Odd, then, that in the same week they printed a photograph of an alleged artwork depicting the Virgin Mary covered in excrement. Suddenly their ability to describe had abandoned them.

The stench of double standard and fearfulness is as heady as the perfume from an Arabic harem.

We know they’re lying and they know they’re lying.

“We know they’re lying and they know they’re lying.” Exactly! It was so then, it is so now. Yet Michael Coren takes the New York Times to task for it’s pretentious explanation, is the Toronto Sun’s any less so? And as Coren very accuatly points out, that quote about “Catholic react to a cartoon of Christ sexually abusing a child” is nonsense. They sure wouldn’t kill the cartoonist, and if they did the Toronto Sun would be the first ones to publish the cartoon to give the story it’s proper context.

The media’s cowardice on this issue is a major reason Ezra Levant is in front of the Human Rights Commission: if Western Standard wasn’t the only publication printing them, they likely wouldn’t have had a complaint. Yet the news media, outside of a few editorials, has been silent on this issue. (MPs staffers didn’t even know it was an issue.) Once again those who have the most to lose by the crushing of free speech in this country seem to be uninterested in it’s demise.

Of course, if it was the Sun’s right to publish pictures of Karla Holmolka that was at issue, they would be all over it. What shouldn’t need explaining to them, but clearly does, is next time it may Karla taking them to the human rights commissions, claiming her rights are violated by surreptitious pictures printed in the Sun, and they will have already forfeited the argument:

Just because a society has almost unlimited freedom of expression doesn’t mean we should ever stop thinking about its consequences in the real world.

Words to lose by.

Go Ezra Go, human rights

  1. Joanne (True Blue)
    January 20th, 2008 at 06:59 | #1

    Very profound, Brian. Well done.

  2. Muslims Against Sharia
    January 20th, 2008 at 13:15 | #2

    Islamofascist-Dhimmi Axis Assault on Free Speech

    Muslims Against Sharia are proud to be the first Muslim group to publicly support Ezra Levant and denounce HRC inquisition.

    Proceedings against Ezra Levant are nothing short of ridiculous. HRC legitimizes radicals’ claims that Islam cannot be criticized and Freedom of Speech only applies to radical Muslims.

    But Ezra Levant is not alone. The latest casualties of Islamofascist-Dhimmi Axis Assault on Free Speech include Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, Fouad al-Farhan, Joe Kaufman, Paul Ray, Michael Savage, Mark Steyn, TomaShot, Andrew Whitehead, and many others. Are you going to be next? http://muslimsagainstsharia.blogspot.com/2008/01/islamofascist-dhimmi-axis-assault-on.html

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