NBC's Blog: No Cartoons, We're "Trying to Treat This Issue With Care and Sensitivity"

Campbell Brown substituted for anchor Brian Williams last night, and she also subbed on the NBC Nightly News blog, the Daily Nightly. Here's how she summarized the decision to censor out anti-Islam cartoons:

An interesting story in our broadcast tonight... and some debate internally over how to cover it. Dawna Friesen is going to update us on a controversy that started in Denmark. It involves published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. The cartoons, which first appeared back in September, have been reprinted this week in other European newspapers, prompting new outrage from the Muslim world. One of the images shows a depiction of the prophet wearing a hat in the shape of a bomb. The newspapers cite their right to freedom of expression, but the protests are growing and becoming violent....After some discussion in our editorial meeting, we have decided not to show the cartoons explicitly. We are trying to treat this issue with care and sensitivity while still bringing you the story. I am sure we will get some feedback on this. Looking forward to it.

Feel free to pop over there and (politely) feed back. The first comment posted suggests NBC is being cowardly: 

By not showing the drawings NBC is condoning violent behavior. The NBC organization has,in essence, said "Yes, we will be blackmailed for peace." May I also assume NBC will be apoligizing for "The Book of Daniel" after all that depicited Jesus is a less than shining light? Probably not because NBC knows that the public will grouse and complain but not get violent. May I then assume that NBC will not be showing the Will and Grace episode that includes, supposedly, a depiction a show called "Crux'Lickens" [sic]? Probably not because NBC knows that the public will complain but not turn violent.

The muslim world has every right to boycott and protest. The muslin world has no right to threaten or commit violence because their collective sensiblities have been injured. By not showing the drawings and then citing hurt Muslim feelings, NBC has abdicated its position as a news provider. The american public wants to see the news, not what the news thinks is acceptable for us to see.

A commenter from India offers the opposing point of view, applauding NBC:

What on earth, were the newspaper folks thinking when they decided to publish these cartoons? Yes, a press should be free. However, this only shows that a free press can be either constructive or destructive. Just because they have and pen and paper, it does not mean, that they can write anything and everything under the sun. Freedom of expression does not necessarily gives anyone the right to offend others. What were the intensions? Moreover, why now? How could they expect tolerance when, all they resorted to was provocation? Tolerance and provocation do not walk hand in hand. I am not a Muslim, but I feel that it is very wrong to hurt others sentiments and beliefs.
BTW, when it comes to handling an issue with “care and sensitivity” the press/media should learn a thing or two from Brian and Co.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis