Media Criticism

New York Daily News Censors Charlie Hebdo Cartoon Where Iranian Paper Doesn't


Charlie Hebdo cover
Charlie Hebdo

The Charlie Hebdo illustration to the right, which appeared on a September 2012 cover, does not contain a depiction of Mohammed. It is a cartoon of a rabbi pushing a wheelchair-bound imam. The title translates as "Untouchables" and the dialogue attributed to both translates to "Must not mock."

Nevertheless, when running a photo of a group of French people reading this particular issue of Charlie Hebdo, the New York Daily News chose to censor the cover, as seen below:


Censored image
photo as run in the New York Daily News

Meanwhile, the Iranian Shargh Daily tweeted a photo that included the same cover, uncensored. Shargh Daily didn't run any of the cartoons in their print edition. They are also based in a country with no right to free speech that has special security forces dedicated to policing religious adherence and regularly detains journalists. The New York Daily News isn't.

As you see, the photo tweeted, of one of the Charlie Hebdo staffers holding the cover, is the same one that several Western outlets cropped.

Yet this cover does not depict Mohammed, which is supposedly what offends some Muslims. It is a commentary aiming at the perceived special status Muslims, and Jews, have in France when it comes to being subjects of satire. They are "untouchable." The Daily News seems to agree.

The Daily News is worried about being the target of violence, and they should say so. They certainly dont shy away from sensationalism, as seen in many of their covers. They also don't show this kind of deference to people, like legal gun owners, that they do claim are violent, betraying how their personal feelings differ from their preferred narratives.