By Kristie Marcinczyk, USDR Contributor.
A coup to overthrow Boehner; New York’s finest turn backs on their Mayor; hypocritical highbrow Harvard professors turn on President Obama—this was a tough first week for our “Big Story of the Week.”
A bevy of options, but the first full week of 2015 was dominated by the tragic terror attack on satirical paper Charlie Hebdo that killed 12 people, including cartoonists, journalists, and police. Not only was it a violent, despicable act— but the massacre begs exploration of the cultural ramifications left lingering in the now bloodshed—soaked City of Light.
On Wednesday, the controversial French satire magazine was yet again targeted by violent jihadists for the crime of depicting in print the image of the Prophet Mohammed. The three masked gunmen screamed “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) as they barreled through the paper’s offices.
As history tends to repeat itself…
Back in 2011, the satirical publication’s office was firebombed, shortly after mockingly naming the Prophet Muhammad as its “editor-in-chief.” They were also sued, and pressured to censor itself by the French government— but Charlie Hebdo’s editors and cartoonists were not deterred.
“A drawing has never killed anyone,” Charlie Hebo’s editor Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier told a German magazine in 2012. If only he were right. Wednesday’s attacks left Charbonnier dead, along with several of his staff members and two police officers.
The bastards had it all planned out.
Sadly enough, the terrorists’ “kill the messenger” tactic also seems to be working. The Paris attack had an instant chilling effect throughout Western news outlets. Many of which, including the New York Daily News, concealed the cover of the magazine in hopes to avoid provoking more violence.
As the story unfolded Wednesday, every journalist I have come to know (myself included) used the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie (“I am Charlie” in French) on social media to show support for our equals in Paris who so tragically lost their lives. After tweeting the said condolences, I began to question my own sincerity. AM I Charlie? Would I have the guts to work in such a hostilely controversial environment? Circumstances of this nature are undeniably dreaded by reporters worldwide— which may bring some to ask, what is the true cost for freedom of expression?
The fact of the matter is: The threat is evolving. We are dealing with an ever-growing war on liberty. From forces both home and abroad. But in the face of the fear, we still need to do our jobs.
Just hours after news of the attack broke; Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney took to the Fox News airways with a candid assessment. “Political correctness is killing us,” he told the morning anchors of “Fox & Friends,” adding that our nation’s leaders needed to wake up to the dangers of the religion in order to keep America safe.
The conviction may appear familiar, as Mr. McInerney has previously said the major driver of such violence is those in leadership positions, for “refusing to face the realities of radicalized Islam.” He’s called on several prior occasions for U.S. elected officials to stop handling radical Islamism as if it’s a religion like any other — that such political correctness would only jeopardize American lives — and was notably outspoken after the terror attacks on the U.S. Consulate compound in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.
Last month’s Sony Pictures hacking was aimed at paralyzing and humiliating a media company over its film that depicted North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s head being blown up. That act of cyberterrorism also served as a warning to other media outlets that might take on North Korea.
The danger now is that news executives, following Sony’s lead, may begin network wide censorship, and cut down on the reporting and analysis of Islamic terrorism. For every potentially provocative article, headline or cartoon, some will ask themselves, is this worth the risk? Wouldn’t it be easier, safer, to let this one go?
No. We cannot let them win.
Major events like the current situation in France often force us to take a look at the past for answers. I was only in grade school when the 9/11 attacks transpired, but I will never forget how I felt watching the wall-to-wall news coverage that day. As a naïve 13-year-old, I’m not sure I fully understood what the word “terrorism” even meant at the time — but sitting there watching, I needed to find out…and then I wanted to DO SOMETHING about it. That tragic day I experienced a true moment of clarity about my future. I wanted to be one of those brave journalists more than anything— and that’s what I have become.
#JeSuisCharlie, I am Charlie
Keep a close eye on this week’s top story as it continues to develop.
What do you think was the Top Story of the Week? Sound off on Twitter @USDailyReview #USDRstoryoftheweek
Kristie Marcinczyk is a politics, media, and culture writer. She has previously worked as a segment producer and guest booker at Fox News, Fox Business Network and TheBlaze, for both television and web platforms. Follow her on Twitter @kMarcinczyk.