If an image of the prophet is blasphemous—especially a caricature with a bomb for a turban—then ipso facto the Inquirer dissed the religious beliefs of its readers. Yesterday, two dozen outraged Muslims picketed the Inquirer building. Publisher Amanda Bennett, with the sensitivity of a rhinoceros, said, "I told them I was actually really proud of them for exercising their right to freedom of speech."
What's more, just the day before, the Inquirer dissed Islam by running an incendiary cartoon by Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Auth.
Yes, it's poignant, but not smart in this overheated climate. As The Times of London pointed out, the 12 Danish cartoonists, in fear for their lives, are now in hiding. I'm very glad that my dear wife and all my colleagues at the Target Marketing Group have moved to new offices a goodly distance from their prior quarters directly across from The Philadelphia Inquirer building.
The Pentagon-Washington Post Cartoon Brouhaha
On Jan. 24, 2006, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld dismissed two separate reports that stated the United States Military was overextended. One report was by congressional Democrats; the other was a 136-page white paper by former West Point graduate and military analyst, Andrew Krepinevich, who said the Army's manpower needs "clearly exceed those available for the mission."
"This armed force is enormously capable," Rumsfeld said in a Pentagon press conference. "In addition, it's battle hardened. It's not a peacetime force that has been in the barracks or garrisons."
The Washington Post, no fan of the Iraq War, responded with a heartbreaking cartoon by Tom Toles showing a physician telling a bandaged quadruple amputee, "I'm listing your condition as 'battle hardened.'"
Two days later, Post managing editor, Philip Bennett, was startled to receive a letter signed by all six members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They called the Toles cartoon "beyond tasteless" and said it did "a disservice to your readers and your paper's reputation by using such a callous depiction of those who have volunteered to defend this nation, and as a result, have suffered traumatic and life-altering wounds."