In the wake of the caricature scandal, cartoonists from mainstream newspapers across the US responded overwhelmingly with cartoons portraying Islam as a singularly intolerant religion.
Should we be surprised to discover that the lite entertainment wing of America's corporate media is toting the same line as its editorialists? Picture after picture of irrational sabre-wielding Muslims, drunk on religious zealotry, lashing out at freedom-loving Westerners because, as W. himself has said, they just can't stand our freedom.
Does anyone else taste a hint of hypocrisy in the analysis we're being fed?
Instead of recycling the kind of cheap stereotyping that distinguish the original cartoons, perhaps we should look at what is behind this whole affair.
First of all, we should remember that Jyllands-Posten, the right-wing Danish newspaper that published the cartoons as a token of its apparent commitment to freedom of expression has a less than unsoiled past. Not only were they avid supporters of Mussolini in 1922 (calling him "exactly what the misruled Italian people need."), they are also hypocrites. In 2003, they refused to print a cartoon showing Jesus' resurrection because "it would provoke an outcry among Christians." They also campaigned in 1984 to censor the artist Jens Jørgen Thorsen, who was commissioned to paint the wall of a train station with a mural of a naked and happily erect Jesus Christ.
So why, then, does freedom of expression become such a holy doctrine for them when it comes to Muslims?
If you need to ask why racism might provoke violence, then you might want to re-read the history of the twentieth century.
But this is not only racism, it is also warmongering.
Islamophobia is the most visible and respectable form of racism in the West today, and it is also the ideological wing of the war on terror. Since the war was launched in 2001, Islam has been painted a particularly backward, misogynist, violent religion. Though there are 1.8 billion Muslims in the world, most of whom have not strapped dynamite to their bodies to die for Allah, we are told that Islam is the source of the daily violence that marks the Middle East. It makes for a convenient alibi for the oil plunderers of the current US occupation, of which Denmark's 500 troops forms a part.
If the paid servants of Western news conglomerates want to caricature violence, censorship and intolerance perhaps they should look in the mirror before they take out their pens.