Dersh and Bennett To Press: You Suck

Alan Dershowitz is having a busy week. Not only is he spending the week defending soon-to-be ex-Harvard President Larry Summers but now’s charging the press with abdicating its responsibilities. In a joint op-ed with William J. Bennett (how many times will one see that phrase?), The Dersh writes:”We two come from different political and philosophical perspectives, but on this we agree: Over the past few weeks, the press has betrayed not only its duties but its responsibilities.”

In a paper that hasn’t printed the fiery Danish cartoons, they explain, “What has happened? To put it simply, radical Islamists have won a war of intimidation. They have cowed the major news media from showing these cartoons. The mainstream press has capitulated to the Islamists — their threats more than their sensibilities….”

“So far as we can tell, a new, twin policy from the mainstream media has been promulgated: (a) If a group is strong enough in its reaction to a story or caricature, the press will refrain from printing that story or caricature, and (b) if the group is pandered to by the mainstream media, the media then will go through elaborate contortions and defenses to justify its abdication of duty. At bottom, this is an unacceptable form of not-so-benign bigotry, representing a higher expectation from Christians and Jews than from Muslims.”

The closing paragraph doesn’t pull any punches: “When we were attacked on Sept. 11, we knew the main reason for the attack was that Islamists hated our way of life, our virtues, our freedoms. What we never imagined was that the free press — an institution at the heart of those virtues and freedoms — would be among the first to surrender.”