Fourth Estate blinks to Muslims on cartoons

By Noble Johns

The so-called “Fourth Estate” in the US blinked out of fear, not fear of offended the Muslim world, but raw fear that comes from a bitch. Not to publish the cartoons of Muhammad out of fear undermines our democracy and underscores the weakness of the American press.

This phrase “Fourth Estate” was originally used as a synonym for newspapers of courage, but with the advent of radio, television, news magazines, etc., its meaning has been broadened to include all of what is known as the mass media. Up until now, it was considered the stand for the courage of the press.

Its coinage, with its present meaning, has been attributed to Edmund Burke, a British politician. It comes from a quote in Thomas Carlyle's book, "Heros and Hero Worship in History" which attributed courage to the press. Not so today; they are a bunch of bitches, all of the press in this country that refused to publish the cartoons.

It took “Black News” some time to find the cartoons on the Web; only the “Weekly Standard” had the guts to publish the cartoons. Even the Bush administration has bitched, after calling for war against terrorism. Consider this; isn’t the rioting they are doing over these cartoons in the Middle East, terror?

In a story reported in the Associated Press, Rice Pudding said Sunday that violent protests in the Muslim world over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad could "spin out of control" if governments refuse to act responsibly.

Rice, speaking from Washington on ABC television's "This Week," said Iran, in particular, should be urging its citizens to remain calm -- not encouraging protests against Western embassies.

"If people continue to incite it, it can spin out of control," she said of the protests. Last week, demonstrators in Iran attacked the Danish, French and Austrian embassies with stones and firebombs.

The governments of Iran and Syria, Rice said, organize street protests whenever they want to make a point.

"Everybody understands that there's a sense of outrage, that these cartoons were inappropriate in the Muslim world," Rice said. "But you don't express your outrage by going out and burning down embassies. ... You express your outrage peacefully."

Iran on Sunday rejected earlier U.S. and Danish accusations that the government had encouraged the protests.

The cartoons, first published in a Danish newspaper in September, were seen by millions of Muslims around the world as an attack on Islam and an insult to their revered prophet.

Rice: Iranians destroyed trust

Separately, Rice said a "tremendous coalition" of nations has joined in saying that Iran has a right to a peaceful nuclear program -- but not technologies that could lead to nuclear weapons.

"Nobody trusts them with that because they've been lying to the international community for 18 years," Rice said of Iran's nuclear weapons program. "The Iranians now need to step back, look at where they are, see that they're isolated on this issue ... and get back into negotiations."

When asked about reports that America was making plans for a possible military strike against Iran, Rice said the United States was dedicated to a diplomatic solution, but the "president never takes any options off the table."

Rice added that Iran would only "deepen its own isolation" if it withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Earlier Sunday, Iran reaffirmed its commitment to that international treaty, a day after its hard-line president implied that Tehran was considering withdrawing from the pact after being reported to the U.N. Security Council.

Tehran repeatedly has stressed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty allows it to pursue a nuclear program for peaceful purposes. It has said it will never give up the right to enrich uranium to produce nuclear fuel.

The U.S. and its European allies believe Iran is seeking to develop atomic weapons. Earlier this month, the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency reported Tehran to the Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions, after talks failed between the Iranians and European negotiators.

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