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After Publishing Controversial Cartoon Newspaper Suspends … Editorial Cartoons

On June 11 the Florence Morning News editor chose and published a controversial Gary McCoy editorial cartoon.

After receiving negative feedback the newspaper apologized two days later:

The Morning News erred badly in its choice for a syndicated editorial cartoon that was published Thursday on the Opinion page. The cartoon was in extremely poor taste and in no way reflects the values of the Morning News management or staff. We showed poor judgment and lacked sensitivity, and we deserve criticism. Our readers deserve better from us. We sincerely apologize for the mistake, ask for your forgiveness and pledge to do better.

The Morning News publisher on Monday, June 15 explained:

Last week, a syndicated editorial cartoon we published touched off a firestorm of emotion. I was aghast that it found its way into the paper. Sometimes busy people make mistakes. I know our editor well enough to know it was just that – a mistake.

We consider our editorial page to be a broad marketplace of thought. Very little of it is our own. The syndicated pieces and letters are endorsed only by their writers, certainly not us.

In my mind, editorial cartoons are expendable. None of them are produced by our staff, and rarely do they depict a local issue. They are produced by an artist in some other city who never has to face his or her readers.

The process of choosing editorial cartoons is a vulnerable one. There are often cartoons that mean one thing to one person and an entirely different thing to another person. Often there are no good options. I don’t see any reason to keep publishing bad editorial cartoons.

Having determined that it is the cartoons that are at fault and not the editor who chooses what to print in their paper, there is only one option available:

We will continue to take responsibility for publishing an offensive cartoon, but after the uproar we caused last week, we have made a decision to suspend the use of editorial cartoons on our Opinion page for the time being.

There might come a time when we decide to once again publish editorial cartoons. But that time is not now.

For the foreseeable future, we will fill that space with other content, better content.

WPDE carried the story after the original apology but before the publisher’s decision to yank political cartoons:

“The apology itself is not even an apology. It’s utterly sickening,” Ervin-Cannon said,
An online petition is now calling for the termination of news editor Don Kausler Jr.
At the time of this post, the petition has about 300 signatures.

The WPDE story also carries a statement from cartoonist Gary McCoy:

The message of my cartoon is very simple: Unfortunately, too many in the black community stay silent on the issue of blacks being aborted. According to US Census data, blacks make up only 13 percent of the population, yet more than 30 percent of aborted babies are from black mothers. It is the number one killer of all African-Americans in the nation. I want more black babies being born, not less. Hard to see any racism in that. I’m sorry that Mr. Kausler caved in and apologized for running the cartoon. Giving in to the bullies of the cancel culture will only whet their appetite more.

 

Community Comments

#1 Ignatz
June/17/2020
@ 5:37 am

It’s such a stupid argument. It’s isn’t like they refuse to abort white fetuses. Every abortion is ASKED FOR and WANTED by a pregnant woman, so it’s actually an attack on black women for HAVING abortions. Nobody is forcing black women to abort children.

That’s said, there is no reason not to have run this cartoon – it’s an editorial cartoon and I think lots of them are stupid. And banning the cartoons completely is an insane overreaction.

#2 Mary Ella
June/17/2020
@ 5:58 am

@Ignatz—I recommend some of Fred Clark’s writings about “satanic baby killers” and how they became evangelicals’ favorite scapegoat.

It basically boils down to this: you never have to examine yourself for any unrecognized sin if you can just point and scream “but what about the baybeeeez”. Right wingers figured out how useful a tactic it is and they are not ever letting go of it.

#3 Bob Crittenden
June/17/2020
@ 6:35 am

“In my mind, editorial cartoons are expendable. None of them are produced by our staff, and rarely do they depict a local issue. They are produced by an artist in some other city who never has to face his or her readers.”

Seems to me there’s a simple solution – try hiring a staff editorial cartoonist. Then the cartoons WOULD be produced by your staff, and they very well could depict local issues.

#4 Phil Maish
June/17/2020
@ 2:04 pm

Presumably they still run syndicated columnists and wire stories, neither of which are produced in-house about local issues. Mr. McCoy’s cartoon makes a bad-faith argument (fetuses are not babies), but since they decided to publish it, they should own that decision, or disavow it, or at least discuss it; but the decision to ban all editorial cartoons is craven and blinkered. Be better at your job, Florence Morning News!

#5 Free Speech
June/18/2020
@ 6:17 am

I don’t know which is worse, a newspaper which has FORGOTTEN the 1st amendment and the concept of FREE SPEECH… or a newspaper editor who is either too lazy or too incompetent to do their JOB and find the government data, which I found in 10 seconds.

According to the CDC, that’s the US Government’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention data on abortions at:

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/ss/ss6811a1.htm

CDC data states:

“Among the 32 areas that reported cross-classified race/ethnicity data for 2016, non-Hispanic black women accounted for the largest percentages of all abortions …(38.0%, respectively).”

“For abortions among unmarried women, the percentage [of abortions] was higher for non-Hispanic black women (92.1%)”

– Black Women had 128,229 abortions in 2016
(42.0% of Total Abortions)

So, it is very sad that a newspaper is afraid to confirm the fact that Black mothers are responsible for a high number of “black” deaths, by “aborting” their own children.

I guess the “Black Lives” of Unborn Babies doesn’t matter.

Great irony and hypocrisy.

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