Today, Doonesbury's Garry Trudeau became the first cartoonist to ever receieve a George Polk Award. During the festivities*, he remarked that the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo -- the satirical Parisian magazine that was recently the site of a terror attack -- "wandered into the realm of hate speech.” He also added that “free speech... becomes its own kind of fanaticism.”
So Charlie Hebdo's nationally beloved cartoonists were massacred and yet, Trudeau thinks its helpful to contextualize their deaths by characterizing them as hate-spewing fanatics. This is the free speech equivalent of suggesting they had it coming because they were wearing short skirts. And yet, Treaudeau's journalistic peers don't seem to see the problem here. Here's what a New York Times bureau chief had to say:
"Wise, nuanced words"? Perhaps there will be some general condemnation of Trudeau's idiotic sentiment here, but my personal experience shows that the media are downright cowardly when it comes to exposing savagery for what it is. They let themselves be easily intimidated by the threat of violence and are content cultivating an atmosphere of self-censorship.
In recent years, the once prestigious George Polk Awards have become little more than a matter of logrolling for left-wing journalists. But if they still meant something, they'd force Trudeau to give his award back in light of his remarks which wander into the realm of justifying violence. After all, George Polk was a journalist covering the Greek civil war whose fearless reporting resulted in him being tied up and shot in the head. But I guess by today's journalism standards, Polk was just another fanatic.
*I earlier said Trudeau made his remarks during his acceptance speech, but it looks like they may have been given during a related panel discussion.