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Islam becoming taboo topic on television

An article on Foxnews.com reports the chilling effect the South Park threats and the New York Times bombing attempt have had on the topic of Islam in the media.

In the current, supercharged climate, it just isn’t worth endangering the safety of an entire production staff or network by pursuing a storyline that Muslim extremists might find offensive, media executives and writers tell Fox411.com.

Aasif Mandvi, a self-described “liberal Muslim” and the “senior Islamic correspondent” for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, said on air after the “South Park” threats that it would upset him to see the Prophet Muhammad depicted in a cartoon. But, he added: “Here’s what’s more upsetting. Someone, in the name of a faith that I believe in, threatening another person for doing it.”

But after the failed Times Square terror attack, “The Daily Show” asked Mandvi not to comment further on the matter, according to his spokesman. In fact, reps for the networks and television shows reached for comment on this article, including Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, FOX, NBC, and CBS, either failed to respond or asked to speak on background for fear of retribution.

And it isn’t just comedians on fake newscasts who are being muzzled. One writer for a scripted drama fold Fox411.com that in one of his show’s final episodes, there had been a minor plot point involving a Muslim extremist. Last week it was removed and the script was rewritten, he said.

Community Comments

#1 R Pyle
May/10/2010
@ 2:21 pm

So…they won then.

#2 Ted Rall
May/10/2010
@ 3:05 pm

They had the best ally: us.

#3 Gerry Mooney
May/10/2010
@ 3:19 pm

A couple of box cutters and the rest of the world is running scared. Hear that, Pentagon? How are those billion dollar weapons systems coming?

#4 Shane Davis
May/10/2010
@ 4:00 pm

“In the current, supercharged climate, it just isn?t worth endangering the safety of an entire production staff or network by pursuing a storyline that Muslim extremists might find offensive…”

Really.

Interesting…so many in pop media ‘bravely’ take on Christianity by bashing it regularly and in the most vulgar, offensive ways possible, but when it comes to a ‘fair and balanced’ skewering of other religions like Islam, they cut and run.

Hmmm….

Lemme get this straight.

Attacking a religion of forgiveness, peace, repentance, atonement and love is fair, funny and high minded (even to the point of making an animated show called “JC” that mocks the single most sacred thing to millions of Christians…Jesus Himself) – it is cutting edge and it ‘challenges people’s perceptions’ as well serves as an example of our 1st Amendment Freedom of expression. Got it.

But when it comes to Islam, the risk ‘isn’t worth it’ and they roll over and cave in to save their own cans.

Wow. How brave.

The first, most obvious lesson here is the media is, of course, self serving and cowardly. If they were nearly as courageous as they pretend, threats by ANY religion would stir them to defy such thuggish tactics and they’d take it to those bullies right on their chin. But they don’t. They run the other way with their tails between their legs.

The less obvious, but more revealing fact is that this says a heck of a lot about Islam.

No one runs from an empty threat or mocks and blasphemes that which is not truly terrifying.

They’ll freely scourge the name of Jesus and mainstream Christianity because they know there is nothing to fear from either one. Neither is going to blow up their kid’s school bus or saw their head off with a dull butcher knife.

But they run from Islam in general.

Really, I wonder why.

#5 Tom Wood
May/10/2010
@ 5:24 pm

I think the US government and US business interests, including the media companies, are just using this as cover so they can avoid insulting some of their business partners in the Middle East. They have the oil, a chokehold on our economy, and own major interests in many US businesses. Why rock that boat?

#6 Shane Davis
May/10/2010
@ 7:27 pm

Tom,
You may be right. But whatever the reason, it’s hard to understand how American media can just play duck and cover over one of the biggest issues we face today.

Does this mean that if Exxon threaten to slit their throats they’d quit talking about Big Oil? If R.J. Reynolds threatened a jihad against Doonesbury would the talking cigarette guy get the axe?

#7 Dave Stephens
May/11/2010
@ 9:48 am

Wow. Better to say nothing against the crazy, nutter Jihadists, otherwise, they JUST MIGHT POSSIBLY kill kill killy kill kill!

Self censorship might just be worse than any kind of government censorship. But we all get great training with Political Correctness, don’t we?

#8 Mike Peterson
May/11/2010
@ 4:49 pm

“Does this mean that if Exxon threaten to slit their throats they?d quit talking about Big Oil? If R.J. Reynolds threatened a jihad against Doonesbury would the talking cigarette guy get the axe?”

Threats from specific, identifiable sources are a different matter entirely. You can deal with those.

In this case, we’re talking about anonymous fringe nutbags.

The more accurate analogy — though it’s not politically correct to draw the parallel — would be with the small number of insane fundamentalist Christians who have done a pretty good job of intimidating those who provide reproductive services, through a terrorist campaign of anonymous threats, bombings and murders.

It’s pretty easy to take a bold stance when the radicals are over in Europe and you’re over here. However, the days of that safe, ivory tower existence seem to be passing.

Whether you choose to hasten their end in order to prove a philosophical point is up to you, I guess.

#9 Shane Davis
May/11/2010
@ 7:35 pm

“the small number of insane fundamentalist Christians who have done a pretty good job of intimidating those who provide reproductive services”

Yeah, I was expecting that old chestnut. The problem with analogy is that isn’t accurate at all.

First off, the number of so called Christians who have killed an abortionist could probably be counted on one sloths’ paw. Dang few.

However the number of Muslims who have blown up, butchered, stabbed, shot, mutilated, immolated, IED’ed or jet crashed people to death numbers in the many thousands and it is a matter of policy within that radical wing of their religion. They have a Muslim leader in Iran who has called for the extinction of all Jews and their homeland to be incinerated.

Any other world leaders making those statements but a Muslim? (And don’t hand me that ‘Hitler was a Christian’ crap…he repeatedly wrote that Christianity was dangerous and would need to be stamped out and banned.)

The second problem with that analogy is that no person who truly reads and accepts the words of Jesus Christ as found in the Bible would ever murder someone in the first place, so calling those folk ‘Christian’ is like calling the Westboro Baptist Church a mainstream church. They, too, are just plain sick.

But just to twist the argument into a potential hail storm of hate upon my head, here’s a more pointed question regarding that analogy:

If the violence and horror inflicted upon an abortion doctor by some wacko killer is so shocking and evil, why isn’t pulling a baby’s head out of the womb, drilling through its skull, sucking out the brains with a steel straw and then selling its body parts for medical science not an equal horror?

Just wondering.

#10 Mike Peterson
May/12/2010
@ 4:47 am

Heh. Thanks for the help in making my point. Two questions:

1. How many murders does it take before a crime has been committed?

2. How is your defense of Christian terrorists any different than defending Muslim terrorists?

#11 Ted Rall
May/12/2010
@ 6:06 am

Actually, Shane, I looked into this recently and was surprised to learn that Ahmedinejad never called for the destruction of Israel. What he said was far, far different, and nothing nearly as provocative as was reported.

Always be wary of translated quotes.

#12 Shane Davis
May/12/2010
@ 10:53 am

Ted,
I’m no foreign policy wonk, but I seem to remember Ahmedinejad calling for Israel to get ‘vanished’ for a long time and on several occasions.

This fellow’s blog seems to address what you said fairly directly:

http://jeffweintraub.blogspot.com/2006/08/ahmadinejad-israels-destruction-is.html

Either way, he’s a loon who clearly wants Jews to be under his foot then underground. No way to equivocate his true feelings about Israel.

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