- In past issues, I've mentioned American newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst's 1895 telegram to artist Frederic Remington in Havana: "You supply the pictures. I'll supply the war." This entire sorry cartoon episode was spawned and exacerbated by the media that should be reporting and commenting on the news, not creating sensationalistic news stories in order to sell more newspapers.
- In 1988, Salman Rushdie's fourth novel, "Satanic Verses," so offended Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, that he issued a fatwa, saying it was the duty of every Muslim to kill the India-born British author. When I heard this, I immediately bought a copy of the book and spent a fruitless hour trying to get through the first 30 pages. I gave up and tossed the book in the trash. Instead of allowing the utterly unreadable book to quietly disappear, the Ayatollah's pronouncement turned it into a worldwide best seller. Rushdie has been on the lam ever since.
- Given the inflammatory subject matter and the violence these cartoons have provoked, do the media really have the right to publish them? In this country, such an act could conceivably fall under Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes's 1919 dictum in Schenck v. U.S., in which he wrote, "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic." I would appreciate it if a lawyer weighed in on this.
- The Joint Chiefs wanted to go on record that they disapproved of the Toles cartoon. But in doing so, they kept the story alive far beyond its one-day shelf-life and provided fodder for the anti-war activists:
- (1) Is the military indeed overextended?
(2) The Joint Chiefs' letter contained the phrase, "who have volunteered." This is red meat for the anti-war crowd. Didn't many of the soldiers in Iraq volunteer for the National Guard, only to find themselves away from their jobs and families for years, getting shot at and blown up in an international war? Were I advising the Joint Chiefs, it would have been my suggestion to drop the "who have volunteered" clause.