According to a story by CNNers Brian Stelter and Tom Kludt, Zucker opened an editorial meeting this morning with the following message: “‘Journalistically, every bone says we want to use and should use’ the cartoons, Zucker said. But ‘as managers, protecting and taking care of the safety of our employees around the world is more important right now.’”
Which amounts to an admission that fear of terrorism is driving CNN’s editorial decisions….
[And Zucker’s] capitulation to fear doesn’t withstand scrutiny on any level. As to the suggestion that somehow self-censoring the Charlie Hebdo drawings protects Zucker’s foreign correspondents, consider what little provocation brings deadly consequences: The Islamic State terror group beheaded an aid worker; it beheaded freelance journalists. Those incidents served as a warning that any journalist — any Westerner — who falls into the hands of the enemy is in extreme danger overseas. CNN’s front-liners were at risk before the Charlie Hebdo affair, and they’ll be at risk after the Charlie Hebdo affair, without regard to how CNN treats the magazine’s controversial drawings. For that matter, people sitting in their offices in Paris are obviously at risk now, too.
Plus: CNN is in the business of taking calculated risks to bring the truth to the public. This is one calculation that misfired.