Friday, October 06, 2006

Criticizing the Critic

Virginia Heffernan is a critic at the New York Times. She wrote this particular posting about Michelle Malkin's efforts to deal with censorship at YouTube following some unusual bannings on the widely used site. You see, videos showing Islamists in a bad light were banned, while those videos by the jihadis themselves were not banned.

Someone who goes around and points out the jihadi videos and calls for assimilation/submission to Islam or death is flagged for offensive content while the
jihadi videos themselves are not flagged. That's a curious position to be in.

There's a double standard in there, but Heffernan doesn't think it worth the effort to write that as the lede.

No, Heffernan's lede is this:
Big news: Filipina-American firecracker Michelle Malkin has taken aim at YouTube. Censorship! To present her j’accuse, she uses the only form anyone understands these days: a video on YouTube.
What exactly is the point of mentioning Malkin's race or attaching the adjective firecracker to Malkin's name? The issue at hand is serious - censorship and dealing with threats posed by Islamists who would clamp down hard on anyone who dares disobey their edicts, and yet Heffernan seeks to make light of the situation, and Malkin's assertions by needlessly throwing out her race/heritage, and calling her a firecracker.

Frankly, the entire flagging system stinks to high heaven as anyone can abuse the system (including administrators), which appears to be the case here. YouTube is certainly trying to avoid dealing with angry Islamists who might take retribution against their infrastructure should they ban the jihadi videos, but why is it offensive to point out what these jihadis are doing using their own videos against them. Indeed, the Malkin videos (and those who have had their videos taken down in this (The Jawa Report among others) are more informative and newsworthy than the jihadi videos themselves because they point out the face of the enemy and their usage of our own media outlets - big media and new media - to further their agenda.

Malkin responds and finds some curious editing. Apparently Heffernan couldn't quite figure out the right way to address Michelle's heritage, so tried out a couple of variations. Nice. And there's even an odd Daily Kos diarist who finds fault with YouTube's means and methods. Free speech, and protecting it, crosses political party lines and views. It's at the very heart of our democracy.

No comments: