Target: Jeff Zucker, CNN CEO, Peter Rice, FOX CEO, Steve Burke, NBC CEO
Goal: Publish controversial political cartoons by slain journalists
A recent terror attack at the office of Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine, left 12 people dead but U.S. news outlets refuse to honor them by showing their work. The major news networks CNN, FOX, and NBC have all released internal memos saying that they will not air the cartoons as the might be insensitive or offensive. It is of the utmost importance that these cartoons be shown to the public. These people died for their freedom of expression and to be censored in a country like the U.S., which claims to be the home of the free, is akin to walking on their graves.
Charlie Hebdo is famous for its critiques of religious fundamentalism, specifically in Islam, and has been attacked and threatened numerous times. The identities of these murderers is unknown at this point, but a witness that was at the building claims the gunmen said they were from Al-Qaida. If this is a true, this attack was a clear-cut case of religious fundamentalists trying to silence voices of dissent. The only reason one attacks satire or satirists is because they are scared. Religious fundamentalists know that their time in this world is waning and this attack was one of cowardice.
However, to not show the work of these people out of fear of reproach is just as cowardly. A hardline stance against fundamentalists must be taken: no matter how many people you try to kill, more dissenters will always take their places. These news networks must air these cartoons and show that people are not afraid of religious fundamentalism, not afraid of terrorism, and not afraid to speak out when something is not right. Sure, the cartoons may offend some, but when did offending people become a crime? Please act now to spread this message of strength in the face of terror. Fear and violence will never stay our pens.
I understand that your news networks have all made the decision not to air the cartoons of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo. I am writing to you to express my extreme displeasure and resentment for this stance. By not showing the work of these artists and thinkers, you are not only disrespecting their lives’ work and memories, but you are also giving the religious fundamentalists exactly what they want. They want to silence the voices of dissent against their religion and they should not be catered to.
I understand that airing the cartoons may offend some of your viewers who are not fundamentalists, but hopefully they will understand how important it is to show strength in the face of such a terrible tragedy. Futhermore, people may be offended, but since when is offending someone a crime? I demand that you publish these cartoons immediately or be known as cowards.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Joachim Roncin via Wikimedia Commons