On Feb. 12, The Oregonian’s public editor explained to readers his newspaper’s decision on the cartoons (excerpt):
Editors at The Oregonian talked about the issue but gave little consideration to publishing the cartoons that have sparked violence across the world. They reasoned that sharing the cartoon was not necessary for readers to understand the story.
"We have every right and an ability to publish the cartoons," says Therese Bottomly, managing editor for news. "But that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do."
Bottomly says the newspaper could convey the content of the cartoons to readers without also offending readers. She likened it to the newspaper's avoidance of the "N" word; the racial slur can be described without repeating it.
On Feb. 19, Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby told his readers a little more about The Oregonian’s decision(excerpt):
Several have claimed they wouldn't print the Danish cartoons for the same reason they wouldn't print overtly racist or anti-Semitic material.
The managing editor for news of The Oregonian, for example, told her paper's ombudsman that not running the images is like avoiding the N-word -- readers don't need to see a racial slur spelled out to understand its impact.
Yet a Nexis search turns up at least 14 occasions since 1999 when The Oregonian has published the N-word unfiltered.
Media critic Mickey Kaus keeps telling journalists: Never lie to readers who know how to use Nexis.
Someone needs to tell The Oregonian about Kaus.