Ted Rall, president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC), has issued a letter expressing concern about the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) recent calls for “serious disciplinary action” against New York Post editorial cartoonist Sean Delonas and his editor Col Allen. Ted writes that while the cartoon might be a bad one, the “chilling effect” of sanctions against journalists is worse.
His letter reads:
The members and board of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) wish to express our dismay that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is calling for censorship and reprisals against The New York Post and some of its editors over a cartoon by Post staff cartoonist Sean Delonas.
According to the Associated Press, NAACP president Benjamin Jealous called Delonas’ cartoon “an invitation to assassination [of President Barack Obama]” and called for “serious disciplinary action” against the Post, including the firing of the cartoonist and editor Col Allen.
While many in our profession have questioned the efficacy of Delonas’ cartoon and the judgment of his editors for publishing it, the suggestion that he was somehow trying to incite the assassination of President Obama is simply not credible.
Surely beyond dispute is the chilling effect that demands for sanctions against journalists will have on newspapers and other publications that rely on the free exercise of First Amendment rights to do their jobs. It is particularly unfortunate that the NAACP, with its long and admirable history of defending civil rights and liberties in the United States, has chosen to reverse course over a cartoon whose meaning it has misinterpreted.
Association of American Editorial Cartoonists