The NY Times refuses to publish cartoons of Mohammed even as part of news stories about cartoons of Mohammed, and the violence that ensues.

But The NY Times has no hesitation in publishing Condom Pope artwork, a portrait of the Pope composed of condoms.

The Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan, who functions as a quasi-ombudsman, wrote how the Times Standards Editor responded (emphasis added):

The standards editor, Philip B. Corbett, fielded an inquiry about this from The Washington Examiner.

Here’s how he responded:

There’s no simple, unwavering formula we can apply in situations like this. We really don’t want to gratuitously offend anyone’s deeply held beliefs. That said, it’s probably impossible to avoid ever offending anyone. We have to make these judgments all the time. Reasonable people might disagree about any one of them.

I don’t think these situations — the Milwaukee artwork and the various Muhammad caricatures — are really equivalent. For one thing, many people might disagree, but museum officials clearly consider this Johnson piece to be a significant artwork. Also, there’s no indication that the primary intent of the portrait is to offend or blaspheme (the artist and the museum both say that it is not intended to offend people but to raise a social question about the fight against AIDS). And finally, the very different reactions bear this out. Hundreds of thousands of people protested worldwide, for instance, after the Danish cartoons were published some years ago. While some people might genuinely dislike this Milwaukee work, there doesn’t seem to be any comparable level of outrage.

The NY Times standard is clear, as Eli Lake noted:

Fox News pointed out that obvious hypocrisy and cowardice as well:

The NY Times should change its motto from “All the News That’s Fit to Print” to:

All The News That Won’t Get Us Hurt