Brendan O’Neill writes for National Review Online that mainstream media outlets mirror the behavior that causes them to treat the infamous French Charlie Hebdo publication with disdain.

One year after the slaughter of its staff, Charlie Hebdo still stands accused of committing what liberals have decreed to be the worst crime in comedy: “punching down.” Satire is meant to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, chants every Charlie-phobic cartoonist, novelist, and hack, seemingly having confused drawing vulgar pictures for a living with being a Pope Francis–style warrior against injustice. The problem with Charlie Hebdo, they say, is that it mauls the marginalized — it obsessively pokes fun at Muslims. In a shameless act of victim-blaming and back-stabbing, Doonesbury drawer Garry Trudeau wrote in The Atlantic magazine, in April 2015, that the scabrous French mag committed “the abuse of satire” and was always “punching downward.”

It’s time to put this myth of punching down to bed. For two reasons. First: If Charlie Hebdo does sometimes punch down, then it’s far from alone. Many of the American and European liberals who clutch their pearls over Charlie’s mocking of Mohammed frequently engage in a punching-down of their own, ridiculing what they view as the Neanderthal white trash who lurk in the dark heart of America or in run-down bits of Europe. And second: It simply isn’t true that Charlie’s assault on Islam (the thing it’s most famous for) is “punching down.” In fact, its ridicule of Mohammed is a clear case of punching up — up against Europe’s vast system of censorship that seeks to strangle “hate speech” against belief systems.

Apologists for Islamism were accusing Charlie Hebdo of “punching down” just days after the assault on its offices last January. This month, the apologists trotted out the punching-down critique again after CH published a cartoon featuring Alyan Kurdi, the Syrian boy who washed up dead on a beach in Turkey in September. Next to an image of Kurdi face-down on the sand, we see the question: “What would he have become if he’d grown up?” Below, we see an image of adult men lasciviously reaching for women’s derrieres, beneath which is written the answer to the question: “A bum groper in Germany.” Clearly, CH is referring to the mass sexual assaults in Cologne and elsewhere in Germany on New Year’s Eve. Cue the outrage. Commentators declared, “Je ne suis pas Charlie.” Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland condemned the cartoon, sniffing: “Charlie Hebdo’s refugee cartoon isn’t satirical. It’s inflammatory.” There is a “time-honoured maxim that the comic should always be punching up, not down,” he finger-wagged. “Laughing at the weak is never funny.” Let’s leave to one side the fact that a lot of great comedy makes fun of marginalized sections of society — think of British comic Harry Enfield’s grotesque caricatures of the fat poor or Chris Rock’s hilarious screed against “niggers.” The real problem with the tut-tutting was that it simply misread the cartoon.