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Missouri Paper Called on “Racist” Cartoon -updated

A political cartoonist put [his] spin on Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have A Dream speech.

It was published in the Southeast Missourian and some readers are not too pleased with the paper for publishing it.

“Satire is meant for humor, but they’re making light of something that’s not meant to be made light about,” said Nichole Holzum.


The cartoon is by renowned conservative cartoonist Michael Ramirez.
And while the KDSK TV says “some readers” only one is spotlighted.

Holzum is a native of Cape Girardaeu [the newspaper’s hometown]. She called the cartoon racist and its message disparaging.

“Context matters, the editor knew this, this was meant to pander to their audience, it seems intentional and not accidental,” said Holzum.

The Southeast Missourian responded to Holzum’s criticism:

“Thank you for your note. The Southeast Missourian runs cartoons from a range of perspectives. Although we try to stay away from the most offensive cartoons — we do receive criticisms from all sides at different times. This particular one was created by a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, whose cartoons run in media outlets around the country. It is commenting on specific events, which National Public Radio among others has recently covered.”

KDSK contacted the paper and reported

… that the paper would be issuing a commentary on the cartoon on Thursday.

The cartoon got quite a bit of feedback on GoComics also. (It should be noted that conservative cartoonists on GoComics seem to get more reaction than the liberal cartoonists.) Two days later Michael did another Looting – Reparations cartoon that also got a number of responses.

August 20, 2020 Update:

The Southeast Missourian has responded to charges that it printed a racist cartoon.

Here are some excerpts from the Editorial column:

Because of a political cartoon in the Sunday, Aug. 16, newspaper, the Southeast Missourian has been the recipient of a wave of social media messages, emails and threats. Today, two guest letters criticize the cartoon.

Here is the background. Ever since the coronavirus emerged, the Southeast Missourian editorial pages have been publishing a broader range of political cartoons, from 6 to 13 different images each print edition. The newspaper editorial section is not endorsing the opinions. It is showing a range of what is being discussed nationally, and, as much as possible, seeking to provoke thought (and not merely ideological confirmation).

As part of the process in selecting cartoons from dozens each day, the most vicious cartoons are eliminated by the Opinion Page management (which is separate from News management). The Opinion Page management also gives higher priority to non-ideological content — preferring life and benign cultural cartoons — because it aligns with its ethos. But many pointed cartoons do end up running, reflecting the issues of the day, which, when partisan, are usually balanced between viewpoints.

As part of the process in selecting cartoons from dozens each day, the most vicious cartoons are eliminated by the Opinion Page management (which is separate from News management). The Opinion Page management also gives higher priority to non-ideological content — preferring life and benign cultural cartoons — because it aligns with its ethos. But many pointed cartoons do end up running, reflecting the issues of the day, which, when partisan, are usually balanced between viewpoints … Most just sent swears and threats, including to personal phone lines.

Almost any day, there is a cartoon where someone can find offense. Indeed, part of this current era appears to be finding offense in others, and cartoonists particularly like to focus on hypocrisy. Opinion Page management expects that we will continue to get complaints in the future — as the newspaper continues to share cartoons from across the political spectrum.

Read the full editorial.

Read the two “guest letters” here and here.

Further reading: Real Stl News Facebook page has quite a thread going.

Community Comments

#1 Peter Kurilecz
August/19/2020
@ 7:58 pm

Well it looks like Ramirez hit a home run. love his work

#2 Mike Corrado
August/20/2020
@ 3:31 am

This is, unfortunately, an effective and intelligent use of irony. The question it raises is, Can you imagine Martin saying anything remotely like this? What’s unfortunate about it is that it uses one person’s (Ariel Atkins’) stupid claim to smear an entire movement, knowing that there is a large segment of our community for whom this stuff is red meat.

#3 Ignatz
August/20/2020
@ 6:10 am

Dem blacks be lootin’ amirite?

And I’ll just stick the word “reparations” in there, because conservatives throw tantrums as soon as they see it.

#4 Joe Corrao
August/20/2020
@ 7:46 am

Awesome artist and cartoon

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