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Fabrice Stroun On Linking To People With Monstrous Opinions Vis-A-Vis Charlie Hebdo
posted January 8, 2015

Fabrice Stroun:

Why on earth do you have a link on your site to Tariq Ramadan's blog, one of the most vocal and toxic apologist of religious fundamentalism in Europe, who has in the past justified the stoning of women in the middle east, etc? I would like to imagine that this is a mistake on your part.

Tom Spurgeon:

No, I'm committed to showing my readers commentary on this. A link is not an endorsement. If it were, I've linked to people who have done actual crimes, and you should stop reading immediately.

I'm happy to run a letter with your objections.

Fabrice Stroun:

I thank you for your answer.

Living in Geneva, where Mr. Ramadan is based, I probably have a different take on this "gentleman's" activity, who has made a career of defending and justifying the act of genocidal hate mongers, mixing age-old absurdities straight out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion with pseudo "liberal" cultural relativism. What's shocking is not that you have posted a link to his blog, but that you have done so "neutrally", without any editorial impute on your part, within a list that includes everyone and no one. And, as your latest posting that you have received letters of complaints from readers of "opposite sides of the political spectrum," It only justifies my profound contempt for your journalistic practice.

I never for a second imagined that you might condone Mr. Ramadan's hate rhetoric.

But, "one minute for the Jews, one minute for the Nazis", as the saying goes, is not my idea of a free and elevated journalism. It certainly wasn't the credo of Charlie Hebdo's reporters and cartoonists who were shot dead for doing just the opposite. Possibly, you should rename "The Comics Reporter" as "The Comics News Search Engine".

PS: Feel to publish my letters if you want to, since it will be mixed with so much contrary "information", it will be of no consequence anyway...

Tom Spurgeon:

The major objection I would have here is that I don't think the fact I got letters from the opposite sides of the political spectrum indicates a "one for the Jews, one for the Nazis" approach. Those are the e-mails I got, Fabrice. My intention in noting that was to show that these kinds of objections aren't solely political in nature but I think approach-based. If you think the overall coverage has been 50/50 anything, I don't think I could agree with this reading.

I trust my readers can make up their own minds as to what they read in many of the links I provide without my editorial input. In fact, I trust them to make up their minds even counter to my editorial input, as you have here.

And no, my linkblogging is not the same as Charlie Hebdo's editorializing. Although, ironically, your opposite number this morning thinks I'm just like Charlie Hebdo (he thinks in a bad way). I think he's wrong, too.

Again, I'm sorry to lose you as a reader, but it doesn't sound like you thought much of the site anyway. Thank you for allowing me to publish our exchange, and thank you for holding to me a high standard even though your conception of its execution is one I reject.