Lots of tips coming in about this per yesterday’s post. I give Stewart credit for doing it at all: He didn’t have to, especially knowing that it’ll make Comedy Central management squirm, and he’s taking a risk in calling out jihadist filthbags in such a high-profile format. But even so, he never really addresses the problem. For one thing, he lets CC off the hook:
The censorship was a decision Comedy Central made I think as a way to protect their employees from what they believe was any possible harmful repercussions to them, although after forcing many of these same employees to work on Mind of Mencia and Crog Mondoon … damage done. But again they sign the checks.
No one, including me, holds this against him given that he’s talking about his own boss, but if you take this logic seriously, news bureaus should also start censoring pieces critical of Islam. They have employees too, you know. The retort will be that there’s a difference between journalists and some cartoon about kids in Colorado that traffics in fart jokes, but when it comes to free speech and criticism, is there really? Would Parker and Stone hide behind a “we’re just a cartoon!” defense? They have some pretty strong opinions about criticism and the virtues of satire, and they were willing to put themselves at risk by taking on Mohammed. If Comedy Central’s decided that some subjects are too dangerous to be funny, where do they draw the line?
Beyond that, I figured Stewart would do something bold here in SP’s defense, either showing an image of Mohammed or at least making sure that Islam got a chunk of attention in their sacrilege highlight reel. Not so: Jews and Christians get the bulk of it and then there’s a free-for-all that includes everyone from Islam to Buddhism to Wicca. As a response to that, I’m embedding a second clip below of Anderson Cooper interviewing Ayaan Hirsi Ali about the “South Park” fiasco. Hirsi Ali notes that there’s really only one religion nowadays that consistently claims to be above criticism, and even Cooper feels obliged to remark that you don’t see many threats from buddhists. As for Parker and Stone, they’re busy with their next project, a Broadway musical goofing on Mormonism. I wouldn’t expect many threats over that either.