Earlier this year WTMJ yanked a podcast by then-talker Jessica McBride that trivialized the shooting of a young girl in the name of making fun of Eugene Kane.
Jessica was then shown the exit door.
Could history be repeating itself?
Charlie Sykes today put up a post defending the parody of the "Coexist" bumpersticker that most reasonable people would agree bashes Muslims and Islam. That was in response to a letter from those Commies at the Interfaith Alliance asking that the bumpersticker parody be taken down.
The Brawler would quote from the letter and Charlie's retort, but, sadly he can't.
That post is now gone. Straight up 404'd.
What happened? Will he, Jags and Mueller joke about it in the morning? Or maybe he could pay a visit to the IQ drain that is the Green Room and crack jokes about waterboarding. Or he could just say everybody makes mistakes.
Charlie originally slapped the parody bumpersticker on his site, declaring it "pure genius" here. Pundit Nation took strenuous exception to that charactertization. The itinerant Capper took it on as well.
Does WTMJ have rules even for the godfather? Is it going to talk about why a post has been yanked from its Web site? Cup, are you in the office this week?
UPDATE: As noted above, the "Drawing a Line" post (or something so similar to it the Brawler can't divine the difference) is back up.
It's a Sykesian masterpiece of taking a principled stand on free speech while at the same time denying accountability for controversial implications of said speech. Which is classic Sykes -- and is the antithesis of Journalism 101. As perhaps even Jessica McBride knows, if you quote someone libeling another person in a story you're accountable for the libel.
And so Charlie is accountable for the libel that Islam is the equivalent of Nazism and Communism. (And let's not play games with "Oh, the parody is just trying to be provocative." Please. The context around the creation of the libel is crystal clear: to demonize Islam based on the actions of a small group of violent extremists. And, as parody, the bumper sticker simply doesn't work otherwise.)
Read with awe the slippery prose and reasoning of Sykes:
McMahon’s bumper sticker is a parody that was intended to be provocative. Because it is provocative it was intended to spark reaction and debate and perhaps even offend some people. That does not mean that it should be censored as you suggest. It is free speech that provokes more free speech (which it did – the parody has been linked in both local and national blogs.)
At the risk of speaking for Mr. McMahon, I believe his point was that despite the smug assurance of the original “Coexist” bumper sticker, there are some things – evils -- that we cannot simply “coexist with.” These would include Communism and Nazism. You cannot coexist with Nazism, you must resist it and fight it.
Mr. McMahon believes, and I agree, that we are now engaged in a struggle with Islamic fascism. We cannot coexist with terrorists who blow up buses filled with children, cut off the heads of hostages, and slaughter innocent civilians. We need to
resist and fight them. (Brawler: Uh, Chuck, what exactly are you doing to fight and resist them?)
By substituting the hammer and sickle and swastika in the original image, McMahon “raises the bar” for those who smugly seem to suggest that we have no differences, that we should just get along and sing kumbaya. You can’t sing kumbaya with Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin.
In your note, you take particular issue with Mr. McMahon’s argument that it would be easier to coexist with Muslims if some Muslims would “stop hijacking planes and blowing up buildings.” Whether he unfairly conflates all of Islam with terrorism is an issue you might wish to pursue with Mr. McMahon, but I am not going to remove his comments simply because you do not like them.
(God, I love it when Charlie Sykes talks tough and shifts blame! And real quick, Chuck: The crescent and star is not a symbol of "Islamic fascism" it's a symbol of Islam. A not insubstantial portion of your readership -- if not you -- look upon them as one and the same. The parody doesn't make sense without that conflation. You'd be offended, rightly, if someone conflated Christianity with the genocidal actions of the Serbia a decade back or blamed the behavior of the IRA on Catholicism. The Brawler also seems to recall you and others were upset when a local company was tied up with some "provocative" imagery that offended Catholics. If you want to "fight" "Islamic fascism," Chuck, the Brawler would suggest you would speak out against behavior that stigmatizes Islam as a whole or suggests every Muslim is a potential terrorist. That kind of shows the superiority of our way of life, you might say, and that the bin Ladens of the world are wrong when they say we're engaged in a struggle of West against Islam. And we do have, what, 10 million Muslims living in the States? Isn't showing respect for their religion the American way?
And plus, last I checked, the fuzzy headed hippies who created the bumper sticker probably left the swastika off for a reason --you can't coexist with Hitler. (Actually we did coexist with the hammer and sickle for 70-plus years, but that's a different story.) They weren't saying we could sing kumbaya with Hitler in the first place.)