Islamist Extortion and the Media
by IPT News • May 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm
It's always interesting when an accepted fact becomes acknowledged.
"Media outlets tiptoeing around Islam" is an example, Islamist Watch research fellow David Rusin writes this week at PJ Media. Those who follow the BBC have known for years that it treats Islam with greater deference than other faiths. But its director-general came out and directly said so during an interview in February.
Christianity is considered fair game for satire and criticism because it is "a pretty broad- shouldered religion," the BBC's Mark Thompson said. British Muslims, on the other hand, already feel "isolated" and see similar treatment of their faith as "racism by other means."
And the more radical among them react violently to such perceived slights.
"Without question," Thompson said, explaining that viewer anger such as "'I complain in the strongest possible terms,' is different from, 'I complain in the strongest possible terms and I am loading my AK47 as I write.' This definitely raises the stakes."
Rusin calls this "the most in-depth admission yet of the BBC's double standards with respect to faith."
He cites a series of examples dating back years to show that Thompson's admission, while admirably direct, was hardly revelatory. That includes a 2006 internal memo that showed, among other things, that the BBC would approve showing a Bible being thrown in the trash, but not a Quran, to avoid offending British Muslims.
The situation by no means is isolated to the United Kingdom. Though most major newspapers wrote about the controversy surrounding Danish cartoons lampooning the prophet Mohammed, but only a couple saw fit to show the images to their readers. In 2008, Random House publishing dropped plans at the last minute to publish a novel about Mohammed's child-bride, citing fear of violent reactions predicted by a University of Texas professor.
A British publisher's home was firebombed after he picked up the rights to the fictional account.
But Rusin takes to task those agreed to defend free speech for their double standards and for empowering the very people who pose the threat.
"Those who muzzle themselves to appease Islamists have surrendered their freedom, but when a behemoth such as the BBC does so, it chips away at the liberty of all," he writes. "Powerful media entities that succumb to fear do not only embolden jihadists and help keep the citizenry in the dark about key issues; they also set a precedent that the less powerful often follow, a kind of trickle-down self-censorship that infects public life."