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In 2012, White House Criticized Cartoonists

President Obama Wednesday emphatically defended freedom of expression following the Islamist attack on a French magazine, but his own White House lent moral support to free speech opponents and contributed to the opprobrium surrounding the magazine when it criticized in 2012 the very cartoonists who were murdered.

This is not to say the White House is in any way responsible for the attacks. The terrorists who did this surely had more than enough of their own warped ideological motivation to proceed. But Obama’s passionate, and even commendable defense Wednesday of the freedom of the cartoonists to express themselves is nevertheless hypocritical in light of his own effort to limit their speech.

Wednesday, Obama said:

The fact that this was an attack on journalists, attack on our free press, also underscores the degree to which these terrorists fear freedom — of speech and freedom of the press. But the one thing that I’m very confident about is that the values that we share with the French people, a belief — a universal belief in the freedom of expression, is something that can’t be silenced because of the senseless violence of the few.

But speaking to reporters at the daily briefing on September, 19, 2012, then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney suggested that the cartoonists lacked “judgment” and should stand down:

Well, we are aware that a French magazine published cartoons featuring a figure resembling the Prophet Muhammad, and obviously, we have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this. We know that these images will be deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory. But we’ve spoken repeatedly about the importance of upholding the freedom of expression that is enshrined in our Constitution.

In other words, we don’t question the right of something like this to be published; we just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it. And I think that that’s our view about the video that was produced in this country and has caused so much offense in the Muslim world.

Now, it has to be said, and I’ll say it again, that no matter how offensive something like this is, it is not in any way justification for violence — not in any way justification for violence.

Carney is careful to wrap himself in the mantle of free speech even while clearly demanding silence. This, in scientific terms, is called covering one’s ass. The flowery add-ons about free speech directly contradict the point of the comment, which is that the cartoonists should stop publishing “deeply offensive” material.

As has been said many times, but apparently not within earshot of the Obama White House, free speech protections are meant to safeguard unpopular speech, not platitudes everyone accepts.

H/T to Chuck Ross at The Daily Caller.

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39 Responses to In 2012, White House Criticized Cartoonists

  1. Same Obama WH that blamed a video for inciting Benghazi ?

    So how is this different from the Obama/Holder/Sharpton WH for inciting riots with anti-cop rhetoric and mourning dead thugs ?

    I’m so confused over this free speechy thing.

    • If I am heartbroken, mad, worried about those two comments about our free speech, just think how the injured or families of the victims when they have to listen to it.
      Years ago those people would have heard the U.S. leadership speaking well of anyone’s freedom of speech.

  2. We need to listen carefully when Obama or his spokespawns discuss human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion etc. Our enemies, the Islamic terrorists, are listening carefully that’s for sure. Unfortunately not for the same reasons.

    My starting point with Obama and Islam — the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.

  3. I posted one of the mohammed cartoon on fb yesterday. My SIL said she wanted to post as well but was afraid to. It is sad that 13 years ago there was a group of Americans brave enough to storm the cockpit of a plane to fight and now we don’t even have the courage to post a funny picture.

    • I do not have the guts to discuss politics in public anymore. I discussed politics in front of other people when I was a child and payed attention during Watergate. No one was going to knock me on the side of the head back than. NOW?

  4. AP won’t publish the cartoon but it will sell you a copy of Andes Serrano’s photograph of Christ on a cross, immersed in a glass of his urine and a photograph of Mary smeared with elephant dung. Well, AP took down the link to the first one yesterday.

  5. “freedom of expression” in today’s speak means words or thoughts that the liberals/progressives approve of or would advance their agenda.
    They’ve proved the ruling regime and their minions in the MSM can “kill” opposing voices and ideas as though they were using real bullets.
    They have managed to ruin reputations of people who did or said things in the past that were permissible then. Careers have crashed, families disrupted, and futures destroyed is the end result of the liberal idea of “free expression”.
    The Dem fundraisers recently sent out an e-mail slamming a Repub Congressman because he “spoke” to a liberal’s forbidden organization – as if the simple act of speaking to someone indicates a dark, evil mind.
    Nothing that MrObama says can be seen as the way he thinks, but rather how he thinks he can gain approval.

    To be fair: CongBoehner has clamped down on the “freedom of expression” indicated by his brothers in Congress by punishing them for opposing him. He relieved them of their committee posts for daring to ‘speak’ freely by voting for someone else.
    Both the Dems and the Repubs believe in the “reward your friends and punish your enemies” kind of government, but that’s not how it’s supposed to be done.

    • Srdem65 thanks for noting the issue of them being relieved of their committee post. There was so much going on, I am not sure I made a note of it.
      My question: Why aren’t they blasted this all over the news? If they cannot be squeezed in because of the horror that happened in Paris. I expect the MSM to note it in bold letters.

    • Isn’t it funny that the media ignored Boehner’s punishing tactics against his critics ? Oh wait, just like Obama calling his IRS team to destroy his critics ?

      Do I see a pattern here?

  6. Oh no. I’m in mod jail and there’s nothing here to eat or drink. I think I knocked over the tea trolley with my handicap cart, but it might have looked like that before I got here. It was dark in here, y’know.
    Help!

  7. I would remind you of President Obama’s pandering to his beloved Arab Spring freedom fighters ( actually Islamic terrorists) who murdered the American Ambassador during the attack on a “consulate” (actually a terrorists recruitment, training and arms distribution center) in Benghazi. Obama and his minions blamed the attack on an obscure film entitled THE INNOCENCE OF MUSLIMS whom no one had ever seen for provoking the violence. Rather than aggressively investigate the attack on our facility to find the killers and hold them responsible, Obama had the producer of the film that so offended him imprisoned.

    I would also remind everyone that Congressmwoman Michael Bachman’s career was ended because she had the terminity to suggest that Huma Weiner who had played a roll in inspiring Hillary Clinton and Obama to organize their Arab Spring idiocy should be investigated for her well documented connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    We will all wail and Nash our teeth in indignation while making courageous noises about freedom of speech. However; the true response to this atrocity will be to accede to Islamicists demands by imposing more restrictions on political and religious speech that Muslims might find offensive.

      • In the end yes, the prosecutor went with violation of probation, but not before Hillary made that $70,000 PSA for Pahkee-stan. Did you know that no reporters/journalists were allowed in the courtroom.

        • IIRC, the reporters were allowed to watch it through CCTV. Lotsa’ security.

          Even if he had not made that video, Nakoula would’ve wound up in prison again because he’s a long-time criminal.

          He initially claimed he was an Israeli Jew, and said he got $5,000,000 to fund the film from a bunch of American Jews.

      • I am aware of the producer’s illegal activities and parole violations. However; it is extremely unlikely that he would have been sentenced as severely if Obama had not used him as a scapegoat. Perhaps Obama targeted him because he was vulnerable?

  8. Well said, Keith. Yes, Obama is certainly a hypocrite and so are so many politicians and editors and others who today pretend to passionately defend free speech with bombastic but very guarded words .At the same time it is almost impossible for readers to comment on the events on MSM-sites. At the same time almost none print the “offensive” pictures. It feels like we all are waiting. It´s like something is slowly boiling … I believe the funerals will be a mass rally of….something..There is something different today compared to 2001 when politicians could go to the mosques ( !! ) after September 11 to show support for the Muslims (!!!) and promise them protection from persecution. They dare not do that today. Nowadays there are other political platforms, other politicians who attracts attention, politicians who are not afraid to focus on the problems with Islam in our societies. In a way it was “lucky” that it was journalists who were hit this time ,even if it was the best and bravest among them. Because now even the most gullible journalists must realize that Islam can be a threat to a free society. They should also hang their heads in shame as not one of them can measure up to one of the victims, “Charb”, who once said, ” I would rather die standing up than live my life on my knees”. I am deeply moved by his words.

    • He is an embarrassment as well. He finally showed face yesterday afternoon. He was so very busy, sarc.
      Today he is busy riding past the VA in Phoenix, AZ. So far he has not bothered to show face, making any follow up comments regarding the Paris horror.

  9. Another OT regarding Obama’s Phoenix speech. Obama joked about living in the WH and I dread to see the damage his dogs have done:

    Obama: “We’ve got 2 years remaining on our lease. I’m hoping I get my security deposit back, but Bo and Sunny have been tearing things up”

      • I cannot believe he did not take the time to stop at the VA and speak, as well as not face the camera and spend a couple of mins. discussing the issue of terrorist still running from the POLICE, and show more support for the people in France.
        He showed up for the camera to many to degrade our POLICE.