First the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet cited freedom of the press as its justification for accusing IDF soldiers of harvesting Palestinian organs. Now the Spanish daily El Mundo is using the same argument to defend including Holocaust denier David Irving among its list of experts to be interviewed this week to mark 70 years since the start of World War II.In Freedom of the Press and Holocaust Deniers, Emanuele Ottolenghi makes the point that seems to elude the editor of El Mundo:
An interview with Irving, who served time in an Austrian prison for his Holocaust denial, is scheduled to appear in the paper on Saturday, a day after an interview with Yad Vashem's chairman Avner Shalev.
...The paper's response, which was run under the letter, was not to endorse Irving's ideas, but rather to cite press freedom and the right for everyone to decide on their own.
But it seems to me that the point is that freedom of the press is not the same as the obligation to give a platform to every crank on the planet. Editors make thousands of editorial choices on what to publish, what to downplay, what to headline, and what to leave aside many times a week. In point of fact, El Mundo’s editor, while waving the press’s freedom flag, censored the ambassador’s letter’s last, and most damning, paragraph because, presumably, it suggested that his editorial choice to publish Irving was dictated by sensationalism.
Putting aside the editor's selective application of free speech, his use of the term is a cop out, pure and simple. It is meant to excuse his intellectual sloppiness in giving a platform and free publicity to a Holocaust Denier. Free speech is also being used here as a tool to in lieu of the editor's cowardice when faced with defending the undefendable.