ERIK WEMPLE: The week that cable news failed free expression.
“There’s no justification for violence. But…”
“I’m a First Amendment absolutist. But…”
“You have every right to do what you did. But…”
Though perhaps not verbatim, those are the sentiments that have spilled from cable airwaves — and, for that matter, non-cable airwaves — in the days since Sunday’s violent incident in Garland, Texas. Two gunmen were shot dead by a police officer as they attempted to mount a terrorist attack on a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest — an event whose by-product is offensive to many Muslims. The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for targeting the contest, which was organized by Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).
Authorities are investigating ISIS’s claim of responsibility; they’re checking the electronic communication histories of the attackers, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi; the White House has called the episode an “attempted terrorist attack.”
And who’s being treated as the public enemy on cable? The woman who organized a cartoon contest.
Yeah, it’s not just on cable. Check this out: