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Why the Review Didn't Publish the Cartoons

26. February 2006 • Ari Paul
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James David Dickson, the editor of the Michigan Review—a right-wing publication at the U-M—chimes in on the National Review’s website on why it decided not to publish the famous Danish cartoon.

He writes:

We based our decision on several factors. The most important is that we aren’t Danish.

Our choice, as American college students, was fundamentally different from the one faced by Flemming Rose, culture editor of the Jyllands-Posten, which commissioned and published the cartoons that set off riots around the world. As Rose recently explained in the Washington Post, the cartoons came in direct response to “several incidents of self-censorship in Europe caused by widening fears and feelings of intimidation in dealing with issues related to Islam.” European fear of offending resident Muslims led to the closing of an art exhibit and forced an illustrator of a children’s book on Mohammed into anonymity.

  1. Why do all conservative publications have “Review” or “Criterion” in their titles?

    Seriously, I read this when it came out and I thought it was quite good.

       —ann arbor is overrated    Feb. 26 '06 - 07:46PM    #
  2. It was a good column.

       —Daniel adams    Feb. 26 '06 - 09:24PM    #
  3. Nothing good could possibly come by encouraging editors to omit information from their columns. How are newspapers supposed to do their job, that of informing readers, when their hands are tied through fear of irrational Islamist aggression. One cannot make an informed decision about this issue – perhaps the most significant news story of the day – without having all of the facts. Newspapers already print descriptions of the cartoons, what is the difference? As there is no difference, there can be no objection to reprinting.

    On a lighter/side note, Andrew of Arabia ( is good for a laugh every now and then.

       —Elizabeth J.    Mar. 5 '06 - 05:27AM    #
  4. Hey Ari! I posted on this already, see here (heh).

    ...As for “Nothing good could possibly come by encouraging editors to omit information from their columns”, I am grateful that papers writing about the problem of child pornography do not print the actual child pornography, etc.

       —David Boyle    Mar. 5 '06 - 06:12AM    #
  5. Elizabeth:

    You need to read the column. Dickson explains that the near total lack of context among US readers prompted them to not run the cartoons, not any fears about controversy. Lord knows the MR isn’t afraid of that.

    That’s not censorship, so much as it is a fine example of responsible journalism.

    I agree with David: We can make up our minds about the cartoons without running the cartoons. The only reason for the MR to have run them would have been to inflame.

       —Daniel adams    Mar. 5 '06 - 10:01AM    #
  6. As an aside, the “We can’t let the terrorists/arabs/Islamist/people who hate freedom win” reasoning is getting old. Not that it was ever “new,” but its a bad argument that’s getting a lot of mileage nowadays in TV, print and other forms of media.

       —Daniel adams    Mar. 5 '06 - 10:07AM    #
  7. Good column. I disagree, in that I think it would have been valuable for someone to run the cartoons, but I understand his point and I think that it would have been greeted as needless shit stirring had the Review published the cartoons.

       —js    Mar. 7 '06 - 11:32PM    #
  8. The Spartan Edge, a new online-only student publication at Michigan State University, published those cartoons.
    Check them out:

       —InsideWatch    Mar. 9 '06 - 06:55AM    #