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Fitzsimmons apologizes for remarks made on CNN

Saturday, I posted a response by Arizona Daily Star editorial cartoonist David Fitzsimmons regarding that day’s shooting in Tucson that has placed Congress woman Gabrielle Giffords in the hospital, killed a federal judge and five other individual. David, moments after the shooting on CNN said in part:

“The right in Arizona, and I’m speaking very broadly, has been stoking the fires of a heated anger and rage successfully in this state.

It’s stunning because Congressman Giffords was a centrist, a moderate, and I don’t know who the shooter is, but what could possibly motivate an individual to be enraged enough take down a moderate centrist.”

In the paper today, David and the paper offered an apology that the remarks on CNN were emotional reactions:

“Today I have offended many with my emotional, partisan and inappropriate remarks, broadcast on CNN, regarding the horror of this day. As Congresswoman Giffords battles for her life let us join in prayer for her, for the dead and for the injured. Reflecting on the moment, I know my remarks would have disappointed Congresswoman Giffords, a public servant who is admired for her nonpartisan, gracious and intelligent approach to public discourse.”

The paper notes that even columnists (and cartoonists) naturally have strong reactions to “awful news, but those are best kept private until facts are known.”

Community Comments

#1 Gene Starwind
@ 7:49 am

Fitzsimmons said EXACTLY what is really the issue here and should be APPLAUDED for speaking truth to stupid, not denounced.

#2 Ken Brady
@ 8:04 am

What???? Apologizing for stating the obvious? Who at the Daily Star threatened his job?

David stated what we all know — that the right wing in AZ and around the country during the past two years has ratcheted up the hatred and violence, creating an environment where the weak-minded among us have been emboldened to kill judges, doctors, threaten or injure lawmakers or candidates and intimidate those who think differently.

David needs to apologize for backing down from what needs to be said. AZ has indeed become a “mecca of hate,” but it’s a national disease — and we all know who’s propagating it.

#3 mike witmer
@ 8:26 am

I’m confused as to why he needed to apologize.

#4 Pab Sungenis
@ 8:32 am

He needed to apologize because a lot of the same extremists who created the atmosphere that made it possible for a teabagger loon to shoot a Congresswoman are the ones who buy the paper that pays him.

Money knows no truth.

#5 Kevin Moore
@ 8:33 am

Taking public controversial stands is no place for a political cartoonist.

#6 Ben Carlsen
@ 8:51 am

I also don’t understand what was offensive or controversial. The Star makes it sound like his comments would be offensive to Giffords herself. Why? What’s offensive about asking “Why would anyone want to shoot her?” What’s offensive about saying that the political landscape is getting more and more heated and dangerous, making things like this seem inevitable? I’ve read other commentary elsewhere saying the exact same thing, and no one apologized for that, because they’re basically just saying “Hey, we need to stop this, now.”

#7 wade brumett
@ 8:54 am

Well you can’t put someone who’s a fan of the communist manifesto and mein kampf in the Tea Party Camp.


#8 Mike Lester
@ 9:21 am

Rule #1 for editorial cartoonists: never apologize.

This guy didn’t:

#9 Jim lavery
@ 9:34 am

“Never let a good crisis go to waste”

#10 Rich Diesslin
@ 1:19 pm

His apology is both eloquent and appropriate. When Cagle first plugged it on twitter and facebook, I thought the cartoonist might regret being so hasty. So I think he was right to apologize for a knee-jerk reaction which was made without any facts and based only on his preconceived ideas for what might have prompted such an attack. Useless speculation in the face of a tragedy. Sometimes a nut-job is just a nut-job, and one should at least wait until something is known before speculating. Perhaps editorial cartoonist feel additional pressure to get something out quickly or some special privilege to comment without having to have any facts to back it up, I’ll leave that to you guys to defend. Based on his apology though, it seems sincere and not the type forced upon him.

#11 Jeff Stanson
@ 6:01 pm

The way leftists have used this senseless act as an opportunity to promote hatred against the right is deplorable. The communist manifesto is equated with extreme leftism, not extreme rightism. It’s really sad, considering Giffords is a CONSERVATIVE Democrat. not a Democrat known for being on the left.

#12 Jim Lavery
@ 10:23 pm

Yes, Jeff, and on top of that, little is made of the fact that the federal official who WAS killed, Judge Roll, was a conservative Republican. But somehow this atheist flag burner is portrayed as a Christian Conservative TEA partier. It’s almost as if the confusion was done….on purpose

#13 Derf Backderf
@ 7:06 am

So true, Stanson. And Loughner used drugs! The demon weed! That proves he’s a liberal.

Because conservatives, as we know, prefer oxycontin.

#14 David Ippolito
@ 2:23 pm


1.This guy is not and never was associated with the Tea Party

2. If this guy had any political leanings at all they were LIBERAL!!!

watch hillary rant above about its ok for people to disagree with the government.. when the government is controlled by the GOP… but if you disagree with this liberal administration then you are a “hater” or “insiting violence”. HYPOCRITES!

4. This mentally ill shooter had exhibited very odd behavior for YEARS before this shooting. Why was he able to get a gun??

5.There was plenty of hate against this Blue Dog Dem by the far left on blog sites like the “dailykos” which took all of the hateful crap the day she was shot and then came OUT AND BLAMED RIGHT WING RHETORIC!!!!!

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