February 18, 2006
THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS published the Mohammed cartoons that have mobs of ignorant thugs rampaging around the world. The reader reaction was favorable:
"Thank you," was the consistent message.
"Thank you for taking a stand for freedom of the press when so many of our U.S. newspapers caved in," an e-mail from Breckenridge told me. "My respect for you and the Rocky Mountain News is renewed."
"Congratulations on being an equal opportunity offender," another e-mail said. "Well done and well said. The Danish cartoon reveals media double standards, bias and political correctness run amok (all of which continue to be denied, save for you and a few others)."
"Thank you, Mr. Temple, for not bowing to the pressure from the Muslim world concerning the printing of the cartoons," a third writer said.
"It is time for the Western nations to know that the mere existence of the Western world is an 'insult to Islam.' There is a double standard at work here. We must tiptoe around to avoid offending Muslim 'sensibilities' while they can clearly state a goal as the destruction of Israel and run cartoons with impunity depicting other religions in an 'insulting' manner.
"I believe that political correctness is the downfall of a free society. It stifles free speech and expression and leads to both self-censorship and imposed censorship."
I received only a handful, literally, of complaints, and three of them were form letters late in the week.
Badly written form letters, at that. The conclusion: "This whole experience of publishing these cartoons has been enough for me to want to wear a Danish flag pin in solidarity with that country and to regret - at least during this test of journalism's commitment to free speech - my membership in the American Society of Newspaper Editors."
They keep forgetting that it's their job to tell us stuff, not to decide what we shouldn't be told.