Cartoonist Steve Benson as Political Piñata

Current political tactics call for throwing as much against the wall as possible and hoping some sticks. A recent Steve Benson cartoon has become one such projectile.

The race to fill retiring Senator Jeff Flake‘s seat in Arizona is neck and neck with Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema nearly tied in the polls. One or the other is ahead depending on what poll and what time of day it is.

Into that heated climate stepped Arizona Republic editorial cartoonist Steve Benson.



The cartoon depicts Air Force veteran McSally and anti-Iraq War activist Sinema and Steve Benson’s take on their approach to campaigning.

The conservative national media picked it up after  the cartoon was posted on Twitter.

Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy seems to have started the shaming crusade.

HOLY S*IT: New editorial cartoon shows Krysten Sinema shooting down ex-combat pilot Martha McSally

Arizona Republican Senate candidate Rep. Martha McSally is an ex-combat pilot who put her life on the line to defend America. Here’s how cartoonist Steve Benson portrayed Rep. McSally along with her opponent Kyrsten Sinema…

Within hours other conservative sites had joined the drumbeat,
The Federalists’ Ben Domenech called the cartoon “shameful.”
and the Washington Free Beacon
The Arizona Republic news publication received backlash on social media for depicting Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) using a rocket launcher to shoot her Senate opponent, Republican Rep. Martha McSally (Ariz.), down in a plane.
The following day saw more take up the banner.
The Arizona Republic news publication received backlash on social media for depicting Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) using a rocket launcher to shoot her Senate opponent, Republican Rep. Martha McSally (Ariz.), down in a plane.
The drawing was created by Steve Benson — an editorial cartoonist for the Arizona Republic — who presumably thought he was helping Sinema when the stunt actually blew up in both their faces.


The Western Journal:

The Arizona Republic stirred the wrath of its critics Friday when it published a political cartoon that showed a former anti-war activist shooting a former Air Force pilot out of the sky.


The Blaze:

Various Twitter users said the cartoon was “tone deaf,” in poor taste and an insult to veterans.

The cartoon apparently references a debate between Sinema and McSally earlier this week. Sinema was asked a question about some of her past comments, including one from a 2003 interview in which she reportedly said she doesn’t care if Americans go overseas and fight for the Taliban.


PJ Media:

On Friday, The Arizona Republic, Arizona’s most widely circulated newspaper, ran a political cartoon mocking Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), the first female pilot to fly in combat. The cartoon showed McSally shot down by Kyrsten Sinema, the Democrat running against McSally in Arizona’s U.S. Senate race and a former activist against the Iraq War who actually said, “I don’t care” if Americans go fight for the Taliban in Afghanistan.


Hot Air presented an earlier link between candidate Sinema and cartoonist Benson:

There’s another problem. The whole point of Sinema distancing herself from the art above was to suggest that she wasn’t personally denigrating the troops even as she opposed the war. But here’s the sort of thing cartoonist Steve Benson was drawing around this time. To be clear, I have no idea which cartoon Sinema wanted to use for her flyers in 2002 so I’m not saying it was this one in particular, but this is the sort of thing she was a fan of at the time:



Eventually a local to Arizona news outlet picked up the story. From KTAR Radio (owned by The Church of Latter Day Saints who have had their own run-ins with Steve Benson):

“This cartoon is despicable,” McSally’s campaign said in a statement. “Martha McSally was combat-deployed and served 26 years in uniform. She put her life on the line for our country. Getting shot down isn’t a political punchline, it’s a reality our service members face every day.

“This is another example of liberal elitists sitting in their cushy downtown Phoenix offices publishing their out-of-touch media bias and forcing it upon their readers.”


On Sunday The Arizona Republic recommended Kyrsten Sinema for the office of Senator.

Neither the paper nor Steve Benson has responded to the politically manufactured hoopla over the cartoon.




2 thoughts on “Cartoonist Steve Benson as Political Piñata

  1. Nothing gets a Democrat in trouble faster than doing the kind of thing that Republicans do every day without a second thought. Amazing how PC all these iconoclastic mavericks suddenly are.

Comments are closed.