We'll have to forgive what's left of the staff at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo if they don't take much comfort from the ostentatious displays of sympathy and support from their colleagues in the Western media today, and from the similarly defiant words of Western political leaders. For the hysterical reaction of mainstream Western media outlets and politicians to the publication of cartoons mocking Mohammed — first by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and then by Charlie Hebdo – set the stage for Wednesday's atrocity.

By turning what was little more than a teacup storm on Islamist websites into a major international story when Jyllands-Posten published its Mohammed cartoons back in 2005, and by providing extensive coverage of Charlie Hebdo's subsequent "provocations," the media ensured that the cartoons came to the attention of a global Muslim audience.

The tone of the coverage back then, particularly in the U.S. and British media, was largely sympathetic to Muslims.

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