On Wednesday in Paris, Islamic terrorists murdered 12 people at the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo. Time magazine responded with an article by Megan Gibson, titled, “The Provocative History of French Satirical Magazine.” Gibson writes:
The motivation behind the attack that has left at least 12 people dead at the office of French satirical weekly Charlie Hedbo on Wednesday appears to be its long history of mocking religions, in particular Islam…
But this is not the first time that Time has written about Charlie Hebdo’s offensiveness. In November 2011, after terrorists firebombed Charlie Hebdo, Time’s Paris bureau chief, Bruce Crumley, wrote:
Okay, so can we finally stop with the idiotic, divisive, and destructive efforts by “majority sections” of Western nations to bait Muslim members with petulant, futile demonstrations that “they” aren’t going to tell “us” what can and can’t be done in free societies? Because not only are such Islamophobic antics futile and childish, but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy in the name of common good. What common good is served by creating more division and anger, and by tempting belligerent reaction? The difficulty in answering that question is also what’s making it hard to have much sympathy for the French satirical newspaper firebombed this morning, after it published another stupid and totally unnecessary edition mocking Islam.
Crumley continued with his diatribe:
We, by contrast, have another reaction to the firebombing: Sorry for your loss, Charlie, and there’s no justification of such an illegitimate response to your current edition. But do you still think the price you paid for printing an offensive, shameful, and singularly humor-deficient parody on the logic of “because we can” was so worthwhile? If so, good luck with those charcoal drawings your pages will now be featuring.
Crumley concluded by condemning attempts to defend the freedom of speech in such a manner as "outrageous" and selfish, going so far as to draw a moral equivalence between the "condemnable" messages and extremist attacks:
Defending freedom of expression in the face of oppression is one thing; insisting on the right to be obnoxious and offensive just because you can is infantile. Baiting extremists isn’t bravely defiant when your manner of doing so is more significant in offending millions of moderate people as well. And within a climate where violent response—however illegitimate—is a real risk, taking a goading stand on a principle virtually no one contests is worse than pointless: it’s pointlessly all about you. So, yeah, the violence inflicted upon Charlie Hebdo was outrageous, unacceptable, condemnable, and illegal. But apart from the “illegal” bit, Charlie Hebdo’s current edition is all of the above, too.