The last few weeks have been awful. Truly awful.
We witnessed the brutal killing of over a dozen people by extremists who do not align themselves with the founding principle of a democracy...the freedom of speech.
I cannot begin to put myself in the minds of these terrorists, but I feel it safe to assume that they believed bullets would silence the tongues of those who mocked their prophet. As we all saw, the opposite happened and the tongues of the world began celebrating these cartoonists and unity came under the theme that everyone was "Charlie," because we knew what we had to defend. Every network from ABC to Fox News found a common thread in the basic fact that we had to stand with our principles and that a thriving society only works when everyone is entitled to say whatever the hell they feel (unless someone is threatened with physical danger) without retribution. Charlie Hebdo had to up it's count into the millions, and a struggling publication was almost reborn by the power of the people and the famous saying that the pen will always be mightier than the sword.
Then, the most recent issue of Charlie Hebdo was due to hit the newsstands. My curiosity was peaked as to what would be inside and how the remaining staff would capture this very powerful moment in history. I started to hear reports that another caricature of Mohammed would be used, and then that he'd be holding a sign with the now famous rally cry of "Je Suis Charlie," and then that the headline would read "All is Forgiven."
Wow. Exciting. Powerful. Touching.
What does it look like?
And there began the trouble. Every news station that presented these details, followed it up with "(Insert News Station) and it's partners have decided not to show the cover of this latest edition on our broadcasts."
What? Why? Je Suis Charlie, No? Didn't we just spend 24 hours a day for about a week professing this and how important this moment was in defying violence aimed at a basic freedom?
I took to the internet to find out the answers that no network would provide us viewers. Right away, with one quick Google image search, I found the cover of the issue and could not fathom how a weeping prophet forgiving this hideous act could possibly cause this reaction from the American news media. I then typed in, "Why won't TV networks show the cover of the recent issue of Charlie Hebdo?"
...and that's when I was truly disgusted and inflamed.
Much like the recent BS reasoning on why Sony initially pulled "The Interview," the media outlets were all claiming that they were scared of retaliation attacks against them if they showed this cover. The other excuse we heard was that these networks do believe in free speech but also do not want to offend people based on religion, race, etc.
Do they really find us to be this ignorant?
If I sat and watched the news on ANY station for 24 hours, I would have pages of images and statements that offend every group under the sun. I could remind them of when they show effigies of our President with a noose around his neck that some ignorant racist made. I could bring up the senator they had on who is fighting against gay marriage and the charming choice phrases these relics are allowed to spout. I could even show them the exit poll graphs they used during the elections that asked how many voters thought "Obama was a muslim" and how right there they not only perpetuated a racist stereotype against the leader of our country but used the term "muslim" (once again) in a negative fashion.
Let's just be clear, the media is never sensitive about anything or anyone they bring on to their programs and the controversy they brew among us only ups those ratings and fills their pockets with cash.
So then what is it?
Being that we were only given those two reasons for their decision, I'm forced to go with the former since the latter has been proven to be a ridiculous notion.
The news media are scared to show this cover because of a similar attack coming against them. The foundation of their organizations, bringing us the news, finds itself flimsy under fear and irrational panic. They will make millions reporting on wars that send out brave men and women to defend the basic rights we have, yet they will not show an illustration that they "claim" (note the quotes) to fear. Apparently that wasn't the case when they all showed a caricature of a flag burning turban wearing Obama fist bumping an almost Che Geuvara like Michelle in the Oval Office with a PORTRAIT OF MOHAMMED in the background.
Two statements debunked and still no answer...so why did they really decline to show us?
I don't know. I honestly just do not know, but here is what I can offer.
Stand up for something. My parents raised me with the lesson I'm sure we all heard growing up, "practice what you preach." If you are out to be sensitive to all walks of life, you better be thorough and consistent. I also wish you the best in staying on the air with that notion.
Your organizations profit immensely on unending reports on the troubles of this world and CEOs behind a desk create decisions that affect us all, yet no one in a powerful position wants to stand in the thick of it and join the rest of us wading in the waters.
We need to hear from every voice in this world, no matter how it may offend. I am a Cuban homosexual male with a black "grandmother" and I find most of the hateful voices I hear to be vile, but I need to hear them. I would personally never mock a religious groups prophet or make a racial slur against someone, but I need to hear them.
We need to hear them.
The fools of the Westboro Baptist Church proclaim that "God Hates Fags," and because of them, we evolve beyond them and are nearing a full union of marriage equality. The idiot white supremacist that spits out ignorance at the gates of the White House, only brings us closer to the promise land that our beloved pastor saw from the mountaintop. The terrorists proclaiming a hatred of the West, unify us under their threats as we seek to rid the world of such thought and violence.
We need these reminders as we move towards a better future, a future that will hopefully have moved beyond people of preposterous and hateful ideals. They are our fuel. They create the new generation of our race that will believe in just loving your fellow man.
Slain Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier once declared that he would "rather die standing than live on his knees."
Media outlets should note that the only position lower than kneeling is fully bowing to cowardice.