Hypocritical newspaper editors (updated)

David Paulin
The American Society of News Editors, one of the core organizations of the journalistic establishment,  has been exposed as a gaggle of cowardly hypocrites. The Washington Examiner queried the ASNE on their reaction to the mortal threat faced by Molly Norris, the Seattle cartoonist forced in hiding over "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day."

When The Examiner asked the American Society of News Editors for a statement on the issue, none was forthcoming. This despite the fact that the first sentence of ASNE's Web site describes its mission as supporting "the First Amendment at home and free speech around the world." We got a similar response from the Society of Professional Journalists, despite its dedication "to the perpetuation of the free press as the cornerstone of our nation and liberty."

Freedom of speech and press are in deep trouble when the American government thinks the best it can do to protect a journalist from death threats is to counsel her to go into hiding, and when the elite voices of American journalism can't be bothered to say anything in her defense. But it's actually worse than that. The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof thinks Muslims are owed an apology. "I hereby apologize to Muslims for the wave of bigotry and simple nuttiness that has lately been directed at you," he wrote Sunday.

Update:

Andrew Scott of the Society for Professional Journalists writes:

Unfortunately, their [The Examiner's] content is misleading and was most likely written to gain headlines/SEO. When previously offered, the Examiner did not accept SPJ Headquarters' contact information for the Society's Washington Pro chapter nor for our National President so that the Examiner could pursue any legitimate information or stand point from us.

Below I've included content our National President, Kevin Z. Smith has recently posted in response to other entries that quoted the Examiner and criticized the two journalism groups. I have posted this content to other articles such as yours that have come across this issue and have helped us to fix this problem.

I'm sending it to you now as proof that the Society does in fact support Molly Norris. We are hoping you will utilize this factual information as an addendum in your entry or as a separate updated entry, clarifying this false information as posted by the Examiner.

SPJ did issue a statement of support for Norris and that statement appears in at least one publication in Seattle.

It is here:

"SPJ has always stood behind First Amendment rights of expression whether they originate with the the press, a group or from individuals. Most citizens in our country understand that free speech has protection, even if it is offensive to some segments of society. Editorial commentary, even in the form of cartoons, has long been a staple of the American press. It can engage and enrage people as it provokes thought and fosters debate. That's it's purpose. Cartoonists know that better than anyone. Add Norris' name to the long list of journalists who agitate in order to make a statement. She should have protection and she has our support."

SPJ represents 8,000 journalists in this nation and abroad. We are rarely silent on First Amendment issues.


The American Society of News Editors, one of the core organizations of the journalistic establishment,  has been exposed as a gaggle of cowardly hypocrites. The Washington Examiner queried the ASNE on their reaction to the mortal threat faced by Molly Norris, the Seattle cartoonist forced in hiding over "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day."

When The Examiner asked the American Society of News Editors for a statement on the issue, none was forthcoming. This despite the fact that the first sentence of ASNE's Web site describes its mission as supporting "the First Amendment at home and free speech around the world." We got a similar response from the Society of Professional Journalists, despite its dedication "to the perpetuation of the free press as the cornerstone of our nation and liberty."

Freedom of speech and press are in deep trouble when the American government thinks the best it can do to protect a journalist from death threats is to counsel her to go into hiding, and when the elite voices of American journalism can't be bothered to say anything in her defense. But it's actually worse than that. The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof thinks Muslims are owed an apology. "I hereby apologize to Muslims for the wave of bigotry and simple nuttiness that has lately been directed at you," he wrote Sunday.

Update:

Andrew Scott of the Society for Professional Journalists writes:

Unfortunately, their [The Examiner's] content is misleading and was most likely written to gain headlines/SEO. When previously offered, the Examiner did not accept SPJ Headquarters' contact information for the Society's Washington Pro chapter nor for our National President so that the Examiner could pursue any legitimate information or stand point from us.

Below I've included content our National President, Kevin Z. Smith has recently posted in response to other entries that quoted the Examiner and criticized the two journalism groups. I have posted this content to other articles such as yours that have come across this issue and have helped us to fix this problem.

I'm sending it to you now as proof that the Society does in fact support Molly Norris. We are hoping you will utilize this factual information as an addendum in your entry or as a separate updated entry, clarifying this false information as posted by the Examiner.

SPJ did issue a statement of support for Norris and that statement appears in at least one publication in Seattle.

It is here:

"SPJ has always stood behind First Amendment rights of expression whether they originate with the the press, a group or from individuals. Most citizens in our country understand that free speech has protection, even if it is offensive to some segments of society. Editorial commentary, even in the form of cartoons, has long been a staple of the American press. It can engage and enrage people as it provokes thought and fosters debate. That's it's purpose. Cartoonists know that better than anyone. Add Norris' name to the long list of journalists who agitate in order to make a statement. She should have protection and she has our support."

SPJ represents 8,000 journalists in this nation and abroad. We are rarely silent on First Amendment issues.