Matt Welch makes a good point:
You can be Islamophobic, in the form of refusing to run the most innocuous imaginable political cartoons out of a broad-brush fear of Muslims, but you can’t admit it, even when the fear is expressed as a personal feeling and not a group description, winnowed down to the very specific and nightmare-exhuming act of riding on an airplane, and uttered in a context of otherwise repudiating collective guilt and overbroad fearmongering.
Welch is referring to the near universal decision by US media not to reproduce the Danish Muhammad cartoons. But there are so many more examples!
“I get worried, I get nervous,” said Williams. Isn’t that what Yale University Press said when it declined to publish the accompanying photographs to Jytte Klausen’s The Cartoons That Shook the World?
From the statement by Yale University Press director, John Donatich:
I am not a security expert and did not feel that we could be cavalier about the risks on campus and to the larger Yale international community.
“I get worried, I get nervous.” Isn’t that the justification that the Washington Post offered just 10 days ago to explain its decision to pull a cartoon that expressly did not depict Muhammad?
Style editor Ned Martel said he decided to yank it, after conferring with others, including Executive Editor Marcus W. Brauchli, because ‘it seemed a deliberate provocation without a clear message. He added that ‘the point of the joke was not immediately clear’ and that readers might think that Muhammad was somewhere in the drawing.
“I get worried, I get nervous.” That was Random House’s explanation of its decision not to publish the novel Jewel of Medina in 2008.
After sending out advance editions of the novel The Jewel of Medina, we received in response, from credible and unrelated sources, cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.
As Welch might say: At most major media organizations, not only is it permissible to share the thoughts that Williams expressed – it is compulsory. But the trick is, after you act on those thoughts, you must forget you ever held them. Who said journalism was easy?