Monday, January 12, 2015

The mainstream media, the lame left, and Charlie Hebdo

The Chronicle published this cropped photo

The SF Chronicle received several letters to the editor like this:

Je Suis Charlie

Freedom of the press should have been blasted all over the front page of The Chronicle on Thursday with “Je Suis Charlie.” Your fellow journalists were gunned down and your lead story was the Golden Gate Bridge? How far The Chronicle has dropped in courage and esteem. It’s a sad day for France and a sad day for the world.

Ellen Gust 
Palo Alto

Ms. Gust is wrong if she thinks the Chronicle has been courageous in the past on this issue. The Chron didn't publish any of the Danish Mohammed cartoons back in 2006, though it did have a wishy-washy editorial opposing the Islamist violence, a tradition it continued with a similar editorial yesterday. But the mainstream media are first of all commercial operations; their editors and publishers have a shopkeepers' mentality: why antagonize your customers and advertisers with controversial material?

The so-called alternative media in San Francisco doesn't have that excuse.[Later: Wrong! Of course even they have to make money. The Guardian didn't, which is why it died.] As I pointed out years ago, their goofball version of multiculturalism makes it hard for them to condemn Muslims for anything. 

Unlike the Chronicle, the SF Bay Guardian didn't even mention the Danish cartoon riots and neither did Beyond Chron. Beyond Chron didn't write anything about the kerfuffle over the anti-jihad ads on Muni buses, either; the Guardian did, but it was dumb on the issue, apparently befuddled by that pesky free speech, First Amendment stuff. Gee, does it really allow people to express opinions that right-thinking San Francisco progressives find troublesome? The SF Weekly also failed the bus ad IQ test, as did the Chronicle.

Beyond Chron's only reaction to the Charley Hebdo massacre has been a letter to the editor yesterday with this insight: 

You know, Muslims are human beings who want to be respected. They love their families and friends. They love their children. They value education. They want decent jobs to support their families. Indeed, they want to live in a society that provides them with economic and political security.

No shit? Dang, I bet no one ever thought of that before! The problem is that a significant minority of Muslims have other ideas, and many of the Muslims described in the above apparently see any criticism of Muslims---even violent jihadists---as criticism of their religion.

In the same issue of the Chronicle as the Gust letter, Ralph Stone nicely captures this brand of "progressive" cluelessness:

I am not Charlie

Regarding “Massacre at French paper stuns world” (Jan. 8), the killing of 12 people at the French newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, is appalling. Hopefully, the perpetrators will soon be caught and prosecuted. The fact that 12 people are dead over cartoons by white, male cartoonists is horrible.

Free speech is an important part of our society and criticism of Charlie Hebdo cartoons is also speech. But no one should be killed over cartoons. However, the statement “Je Suis Charlie” (I Am Charlie) ignores the magazine’s history of xenophobia, racism, sexism and homophobia. I sympathize with the victims’ families, but I will not be Charlie.

Ralph Stone
San Francisco

That is, Stone clearly finds Charley Hebdo not politically correct enough to warrant anything but sympathy for the victims' families.

He tips his clueless hand with the "white, male" description of the victims. Presumably, if Charley Hebdo had the proper, PC hiring practices, with an acceptable percentage of women and people of color---a transgender staffer would surely have also been helpful---and if that publication had never mocked any members of the great prog/rainbow political coalition, Stone could have expressed his solidarity! (The editor of Berkeley's leftist Daily Planet agrees with Stone, a regular contributor to the Planet.)

Stone is also a regular contributor of PC, party line "progressive" material to the Fog City Journal.

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