Give thanks we don't live in China, the world's leading jailer of journalists and Internet critics. Consider Yang Xiaoqing, jailed for five months because he reported corruption among local officials in the central Hunan province. Or Yang Tianshui, sentenced to 12 years in jail this spring for posting essays on the Internet supporting a movement by exiles to hold free elections. Or Li Yuanlong, a Guizhou reporter for the Bijie Daily jailed for two years on subversion charges because he dared to criticize the ruling Communist Party on foreign websites. Or any of the other 32 journalists and 50-plus bloggers behind bars.
Give thanks we don't live in Lebanon, where outspoken writers pay with their lives. Journalist and Christian Orthodox activist Samir Kassir, who was critical of Syrian involvement in Lebanon, was assassinated in a Beirut car bombing in 2005. His colleague, An-Nahar newspaper manager Gibran Tueni, was killed in a car bombing last December. Lebanese TV anchorwoman and Christian journalist May Chidiak survived a separate car bombing last fall, but lost an arm, leg and use of one eye.
Give thanks we don't live in Russia, where investigative journalists routinely wind up dead. Last month, unrelenting reporter and Putin critic Anna Politkovskaya was found shot dead in her apartment. In the days before her death, Politkovskaya had been working on a story about torture in Chechnya, according to her newspaper, Novaya Gazeta. She joins a death toll that includes Paul Klebnikov, the U.S.-born editor of the Russian edition of Forbes, who had been investigating the Russian business underworld and was gunned down outside his Moscow office in 2004; Valery Ivanov, editor of the newspaper Tolyatinskoye Oborzreniye, also shot dead after investigating organized crime and drug trafficking in 2002; and Larisa Yudina, editor of the opposition newspaper Sovetskaya Kalmykia in southern Russia, who was stabbed to death by former government aides.
Give thanks we don't live in Denmark, where the cartoonists who dared to caricature Mohammed and challenge creeping sharia are still in hiding, in fear for their lives.
Give thanks we don't live in Italy, where a spineless judge bowed to jihadists and put famed war journalist Oriana Fallaci on trial for her sharp-tongued critiques of Islam. She succumbed to cancer before they could exact a vengeful penalty against the lioness. But they made the price of "insulting" Islam known far and wide to the cowering Western media.
Give thanks we live in America, land of the free, home of the brave, where the media's elite journalists can leak top-secret information with impunity, win Pulitzer Prizes, cash in on lucrative book deals, routinely insult their readership and viewership, broadcast enemy propaganda, turn a blind eye to the victims of jihad, and cast themselves as oppressed victims on six-figure salaries.
God bless the U.S.A.