The New York Times and CNN refuse to the show the cover of a magazine whose staff members were brutally murdered by terrorists last week.
That cover is being shared by other news outlets, is on thousands of newsstands and currently in hundreds of millions of user feeds on social media.
Putting emotions aside, which is hard to do in these matters, there are three logical ways to explain this situation:
[ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/80BUu ]
1. The New York Times and CNN are huge targets and they don’t want to put their staff at unnecessary risk. They are doing their job being conservative about safety, and if people want to see the cover they can search for it online.
2. The New York Times and CNN management are cowards.
3. The New York Times and CNN cannot take this risk for liability reasons (i.e., we showed the cover, our staff was murdered by terrorists and we knew this was a serious possibly — and we did anyway!).
A reasonable person can argue any of these positions well. I could passionately defend position #1 saying simply that “Dead New York Times writers can’t cover the stories we need them to cover — including this one.”
You can defend position #2 easily as well, “If you knew, through the credible intelligence we have, that printing this would result in the death of CNN staff members, you would live with the label of coward, too.”
Finally, number #3 — the hardest and easiest to defend — can be summed up as, “It’s not our decision to make, it’s up to the lawyers and the insurance company. If I printed the image I would be fired before I was able to hit the publish key.”
However, what these logical arguments don’t take into account is that we are dealing with a group of people who have a barbaric world view backed by a set of religious beliefs that are stuck in a barbaric era.
There is no logic in dealing with this group. There is no negotiation, peace, or bridge to be built — they’re literally insane warriors.
I’m using literally to mean literally here — not hyperbolically. These are literally warriors trained to kill and they are literally fueled by insane beliefs. We need to be very clear about what we are dealing with if we are to address it as a team.
If you took a group of Nazis, the Mongolian Army, or the Japanese soldiers who raped Nanking, and sent them in a time machine to 2015 you would have a similar situation: unsolvable. You can’t negotiate with these types of people, except in rare edge cases (typically mentally ill folks who flip sides depending on who gives them the most attention).
As a society we simply need to stand together and say, “You don’t get to pick what cartoons people draw. You can’t possibly kill us all, since we outnumber you 1,000 to 1, so if you would like to test this theory you will all be dead and we will be burying you.”
A bunch of good people will continue to be killed by terrorists fueled by a perversely literal interpretation of books written thousands of years ago — and that sucks.
Yet here we are.
The way they look at the world is that only one society can prevail and they’re right about that — but they’re wrong about which one will.
[ je suis charlie ] [ je suis new york times ] [ je suis 9/11 ] [ je suis 7/7 ]