On Capitol Hill, Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., recently breezed past a police checkpoint without stopping. She wasn’t wearing her member pin -- the lapel marker that lets police know she’s far more important than the rest of us. So the officer at the gate was just doing his job when he chased her down. When he did, McKinney hit him.
Yet it’s the congresswoman who claims she was offended.
McKinney is “a victim of the excessive use of force by law enforcement officials because of how she looks and the color of her skin,” her lawyer announced. McKinney added, “Let me be clear: this whole incident was instigated by the inappropriate touching and stopping of me -- a female, black, progressive congresswoman.”
She might need all of her famous wit and charm to stay out of trouble, since the Capitol Police are considering pressing charges against her.
Of course, McKinney’s not the only offended “victim” resorting to violence. Just a few months ago, aggrieved Muslims attacked embassies, burned flags and even killed people because an obscure Danish newspaper had printed several cartoons that depicted the prophet Muhammad. Doing so is supposedly banned under Islam, and Muslims around the world were offended.
Most of the violence stayed clear of our shores, though, because very few American newspapers were willing to print any of the cartoons. “They wouldn’t meet our standards for what we publish in the paper,” Leonard Downie, Jr., executive editor of the Washington Post, told Editor and Publisher magazine. “We have standards about language, religious sensitivity, racial sensitivity and general good taste.” Big papers including USA Today and the Los Angeles Times took the same line. Every time it showed the drawings, CNN pixilated the prophet.
Fair enough on one level. The drawings were indeed amateurish, and if a paper had received them from an artist it’s completely understandable that the paper would have said, “no thanks.”
But as columnist Mark Steyn has noted, in this case the cartoons are the story. By refusing to print them, newspapers are telling readers “there’s a furor over something -- but we’re not going to let you see what it is.” It would be akin to TV networks covering Vietnam protest marches without showing pictures from the war itself.