A rash of newspapers are being taken to task by their readers for printing cartoons that are objectionable to some. The Roxboro Courier-Times is the latest to sever ties with a cartoonist over an editorial cartoon the newspaper freely chose to publish.
We have decided to cut ties with the editorial cartoonist who provided the offensive cartoon and readers will not see his images or opinions on our editorial pages from this point on. Beyond that, I bear responsibility for having selected the cartoon for publication.
The next day the publisher/editor had the decency to resign. Though only after previously taking the seemingly now-common step of blaming the artist who drew the opinion instead of the editor that picked and published it.
The “guilty” political cartoonists have defended their views and decried the newspapers that have bowed to the pressure of “political correctness” in a country whose Bill of Rights guarantees Freedom of the Press.
Australia, a nation whose press does not exactly have the same rights, are also struggling with backlash against free speech.
Bill Leak in the beginning of his career was considered a “larrikin of the Left but in his later years his politics changed,” according to Mr Dean.
“Somewhere along the line the Left became censorious, the Left stopped laughing, they got really worried about what you could and couldn’t laugh about,” Mr Leak told Sky News.
“They embraced identify politics, they embraced political correctness.”
In the U.S. the Journalism Institute interviews Matt Wuerker “for his insights about cartooning in a fraught political environment.”
Among Matt’s comments about censorship, self-censorship, and pressure to conform:
It’s completely a matter of taste. Different editors and syndicates have different tolerances and sensitivities to what’s over the line. A lot of cartoonists these days self-syndicate. So in those cases, it’s really just up to the cartoonists themselves.
Calling for editors to resign and cartoonists to be sacked comes from an unhealthy intolerance. Everyone has a right to be offended by the opinions of others, and they have the right to express that offense. But Twitter mobs out to hunt down the heretics and burn them at the stake (this goes on on both sides) seems out of control and un-American to me.