- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 8, 2015

Eric Bates, who served as executive editor at Rolling Stone for nearly a decade, has compared the Islamic extremists who gunned down 12 people at the offices of a Paris-based satire magazine Wednesday to Jerry Falwell’s 1984 lawsuit against porn magazine Hustler.

Speaking Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Now With Alex Wagner,” Mr. Bates argued that it’s important “to remember that this isn’t just Islamic extremism,” Newsbusters reported.

“If you go back to the ‘80s — during the Reagan administration,” Mr. Bates continued, “when Jerry Falwell sued Hustler magazine for portraying him having — I believe it was drunken incest with his mother in an outhouse — again, in a visual form — and won a $150,000 court case against Hustler for that. It was overturned by the Supreme Court, I think, eight-to-zero. So, you know, religious fundamentalists of all stripes and of nationalities have this penchant to say, we want to be able tell you what you can and can’t portray.”

Newsbusters noted that Falwell’s litigation was not based on religious objections, but on libel and emotional distress. 

“Charlie Hebdo was an equal-opportunity slanderer or satirist — whatever you want to call it — in terms of religion,” Miss Wagner added. “And yet, we focus very specifically on Islam, because it is much more incendiary and much more controversial to talk about.”

“Well, it happens to be right now because of a huge American troop presence in the Middle East, and an insertion of American power in the Middle East that never existed before,” responded Harper’s magazine publisher Rick MacArthur, Newsbusters reported. “This is a political/foreign policy question that we could talk about. I mean, I want to keep the — the principle of freedom of expression separate. But there is a sense of grievance in the Muslim world today that didn’t exist 20 years ago — before the United States sent troops to Saudi Arabia.”

Twelve people were killed Wednesday when two masked gunmen opened fire in the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, which has satirized the Muslim prophet Muhammad in the past. During the attack witnesses described hearing the gunmen shout “Allahu akbar,” or “Allah is greatest,” and “We have avenged the prophet.”

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