Thursday, August 04, 2005

I will Debate Extremists

Just read an article by Daniel Pipes on why he won't go on debate programs with what he calls "representatives of radical Islam or the far-left."
. . . today's broadcasts strive toward impartiality. For instance, a memo distributed to Canadian Broadcast Corporation staff cautions against using the words "terrorist" and "terrorism," because these "can leave journalists taking sides in a conflict." The conceit that members of the press have no stake in the outcome of war is terribly wrong; just imagine how television talk shows would be after these same terrorists took over. (They did not flourish under the Taliban, to put it mildly.)

. . . The ideal solution lies not in creating censors' bureaus to pass judgment on television content but for media executives to accept their responsibilities in time of war. On their own initiative, they should exclude the enemy's apologists and advocates. Lively debate does not require such people; patriots with sharply differing views can also make sparks fly.
Interesting argument. He's not asking for de jure censorship, but he's certainly behind de facto censorship.

And, of course, his whole argument hinges on the definition of extremist. Rush Limbaugh once defined a liberal extremist as a "proud Democrat." Is Mr. Pipes willing to go this far? When Pipes says "Patriot" does he mean conservative? This is a fair question; certainly plenty of Conservatives have a hard time imagining a liberal patriot. Unfortunately, Pipes article is pretty short and he chose not to clarify exactly who he is talking about.

Which, of course, may be how he wanted it.

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