Cartoon firestorm: Is there a Difference between NYT and Charlie Hebdo?

The New York Times issued a second apology Sunday over a satirical cartoon depicting President Trump wearing sunglasses and a Yamaka.
“walking” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a leash…the cartoon was branded as “anti-Semitic tropes,” by the NYT.
The statement issued by the NYT read “We are deeply sorry for the publication of an anti-Semitic political cartoon last Thursday in the print edition of The New York Times that circulates outside of the United States, and we are committed to making sure nothing like this happens again.”
Adding, “Such imagery is always dangerous, and at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide, it’s all the more unacceptable,” continued the apology, which was widely shared on Twitter.
There’s little doubt that the cartoon was meant to be controversial and politically harsh, however “anti-Semitic” perhaps, and that’s where the issue lies.
The Times was extremely careful within both of their apologies to reference the cartoon appeared “outside the United States” and “in international print edition” which suggests that their actual reason for the meltdown was perhaps directed more towards their international market, rather than at home among their more progressive anti-Israeli readers.
As a former political cartoonist, perhaps I’m being a bit sensitive, however there’s a much wider issue at stake here then a publication attempting to be politically correct at the expense of our First Amendment, or perhaps attempting to walk a fine line between a countries international policies and that countries religion, which at times can be complex.
And it’s that complexity between satire and the real political issues of the day that the cartoonist must navigate through a maze of extreme sentiments, some of which can prove deadly, which inevitability brings us back to the tragedy in Paris in 2015, when 12-individuals were brutally murdered at the popular French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by militant Islamist terrorists.
Four of the magazine’s well-known cartoonists, including its editor, were among those killed, as well as two police officers.
The attack was in retaliation for the satirical magazine’s caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, including one provocative image insinuating homosexuality with the caption ‘Love: Stronger than hate.”
Perhaps what troubles me most is the sheer hypocrisy regarding news outlets like the New York Times cleverly manipulating their readers to comport with their progressive ideology, much like those progressively run colleges censoring conservative speakers worst yet instituting a repressive doctrine by limiting students of their First Amendment right within an area dubbed “free-speech zones.”
In an op-ed published online Sunday evening, Times columnist Bret Stephens attempted to equate the cartoonist with one of the darkest chapters within mankind by stating “in another age, might have been published in the pages of Der Stürmer,” a virulently anti-Semitic tabloid published during Germany’s Nazi regime.”
Adding, “The problem with the cartoon isn’t that its publication was a willful act of anti-Semitism. It wasn’t,” Stephens wrote. “The problem is that its publication was an astonishing act of ignorance of anti-Semitism …. At a publication that is otherwise hyper-alert to nearly every conceivable expression of prejudice, from mansplaining to racial micro-aggressions to trans-phobia.”
Stephens no doubt believes in what he’s saying, however it’s up to each individual to decide what is or isn’t offensive, much like freedom of speech, designed to protect not what the vast majority believes but rather what the radical on both sides of the political extremes believes, short of advocating violence, those words need to also be protected.
Barry Blitt a Canadian born cartoonist illustrated a satirical cartoon for the New Yorker Magazine back in 2008 titled “The Politics of Fear” depicting then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in full Muslim garb accompanied by wife Michelle decked out in military gear.
The backlash from Obama supporters was monumental; prompting Obama’s spokesman Bill Burton to denounce the cartoon as ‘tasteless and offensive.” However, David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, defended Blitt saying, “The fact is, it’s not a satire about Obama, it’s a satire about the distortions and misconceptions and prejudices about Obama,” that infinitesimal difference changed entirely what the cartoonist was actually attempting to project.
Stephens would perhaps have some credibility if he also publicly condemned his bosses accepting the Pulitzer Prize for knowingly publishing FAKE NEWS.
One can only imagine how many thousands of words Stephens wrote within his columns regarding the State of Israel along with President Trump, using anonymous sources, rumors and innuendos, passing them off as fact.
Perhaps what really irritates someone like Stephens is the power of the visual that within a few brush strokes can convey what a hundred words cannot.
As for the political cartoon appearing within the New York Times and those within the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, both no doubt are controversial, both elicit strong emotions, however, one cannot condemn one without condemning the other, and then who gets to decide?

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