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Trib Schooled by School over Cartoon Riots Coverage

By Roland Lara on Feb 10, 2006 1:52PM

The New York Times won’t do it.

Neither will the Chicago Tribune. black_box.gif

But who will bring you the most important news of the week? The student newspaper at the University of Illinois: The Daily Illini.

As of this morning, riots in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bosnia, Gaza, Iraq, Kashmir, Lebanon, Nigeria, Syria, and elsewhere have lead to the deaths of over ten people, and most main-stream media outlets in the West – nearly every single one in the United States – refuse to show you the cartoons that started it all.

For those of you not following the story, a somewhat obscure Danish newspaper published twelve cartoons depicting Islam’s prophet Muhammad (peace be unto him). These were no flattering cartoons: one depicted the prophet as wearing a turban that was actually a lighted bomb. Under some traditions of Islam, any depictions whatsoever of the prophet are forbidden.

These riots are truly shocking for their violence. As they are for the number of rioters in the number of countries. Could cartoons really incite however many hundreds of people around the world to torch embassies, burn flags, kill people? What’s going on?

Well, unless you did your own research online, you’d never know, because the Tribune refuses to re-print the cartoons.

The editorial reason?

“The Tribune has chosen not to publish the cartoons because editors decided the images inaccurately depicted Islam as a violent religion, and that it was not necessary to print the cartoons in order to explain them to readers.”

Don’t talk to us about depicting Islam inaccurately. Perhaps that’s why there are riots? Perhaps the protesters feel portrayed inaccurately? Let us see the cartoons to weigh that possibility.

Oh, but the Trib can just tell us what they look like, and that’s accurate enough? Yeah, not buying that rationale, either. You could just tell us what a four-alarm fire looks like, too, but you don't do that, either.

So just level with us: you were afraid to print the cartoons because there might be violent reprisals. We would be. Shit, we are. Why do you think there’s no graphic with this post?

But the Trib just got owned by a student paper. Don't let Zorn do all the lifting on this one. Trib ed board, what do you have to say?