Despite what some commentators seem to believe, the Western world does not have a “Muslim problem.” And, the Charlie Hebdo attack was not an attack on free speech [“French paper puts Muhammad on cover, provoking a new storm,” Nation & World, Jan. 13]. Muslims are offended when the Prophet Mohammed is insulted. That doesn’t…More
The Seattle Times made a reasonable call in deciding not to print the cartoon in question [“French paper puts Muhammad on cover, provoking a new storm,” Nation & World, Jan. 13]. There is no point in offending anyone.
I would have made a different call and printed the cartoon, but that doesn’t make my choice any more reasonable than The Times’. Having to walk a fine line and make decisions like this are a burden of Editor Kathy Best’s position. I’m glad she expressed the thought that the story can be covered adequately without printing the cartoon, and that The Times avoided inserting the stock self-serving cliches about diversity. If, for whatever reason, the story could not have been adequately covered without the cartoon and The Times chose not to print it, then the newspaper would then lack integrity. Being offended is an unavoidable and unpleasant part of living, and ignoring the offender is part of being an adult.
I trust that in printing stories that involve other symbols that are equally offensive to certain groups — symbols such as confederate flags, swastikas and others, that The Times exercises the same consideration about adequately covering the story and the same measure of respect as it extends to those who would be offended by the cartoon in Charlie Hebdo.
James B. Paden, Blaine
Editor Kathy Best’s explanation why the Seattle Times did not print the new Charlie Hebdo cover cartoon relies upon the notion thatMore