Paper’s Solution To Cartoon Criticism? Less

I’m writing this as a concerned citizen of Napa and former president of PFLAG Napa.

Tom Stiglich’s cartoon on April 13 was thoughtless and offensive. Transgender and non-binary people are not to be made fun of as Mr. Stiglich suggests…

The cartoon published Thursday by Tom Stiglich is ignorant and promotes hate speech. It is dangerous especially now that transgender and non-binary people are being attacked and their rights are taken away. Napa is an inclusive community and there is no space for hate…

As much as I dream about living in a society that has moved beyond the gender binary, I highly doubt the “How it started…” “How it’s going” cartoon by Tom Stiglich published in the Napa Register on April 13 is intended to uplift this reality…

© Creators Syndicate

Tom Stiglich‘s gender cartoon published in The Napa Valley Register brought such criticism that the paper’s Executive Editor felt the need to respond to the readership in print.

From Dan Evans (who, he makes clear, was on vacation when the paper published the cartoon):

…I was quickly rocketed back to reality by the slew of emails castigating my ethics, sanity and taste for running a political cartoon last Thursday many felt to be anti-LGBTQ. We have run quite a number of these as letters-to-the-editor, and you may have seen them.

But before I go any further, let me be clear: the printing of the cartoon was a mistake, and I apologize for any hurt or harm it caused. Political cartoons poke fun at our vulnerable spots by definition – that’s largely what humor is about as a whole. However, there are lines of taste and decency and this cartoon fell on the wrong side.

Editor Evans makes note that The Register’s owner, Lee Enterprises, made changes of last year:

But when the cartoon and advice pages changed last fall, the political cartoons were also reduced. Instead of having regional choices, we were left largely with ones focused on national or international topics. Those cartoons, in turn, have tended to be more critical of Democratic policies or actions than Republican ones.

The Daily Cartoonist noted those changes – that the comics page was going Andrews McMeel and the puzzles were going Tribune Content Agency. Unreported was that, apparently, editorial cartoons went full-on Creators Syndicate (opinion columnists seem to be from TCA).

It should be noted that Creators Syndicate offers a full range of opinion cartoonists from which to pick, and a review of The Register’s March 2023 offerings show a decided tilt toward the conservative options.

But the newspaper has come up with a solution – reduced editorial cartoons and political columns printed in The Register (a solution familiar with readers of Gannett newspapers):

There is no law requiring the Register to have a daily opinion page. Many people have made it clear they would prefer more local and regional voices – as well as letters to the editor. The clearest way to make that a reality is to reduce the number of column inches we need to fill each week.

Read Dan Evan’s full column here.

Credit to The Napa Valley Register for having a full page every Sunday showcasing editorial cartoons!

Will that continue?

5 thoughts on “Paper’s Solution To Cartoon Criticism? Less

  1. The full page of editorial cartoon must be a weekly feature for Lee Enterprises newspapers; the Racine-Kenosha News-Journal-Times does it also.

    Curious to know whether the local newspaper editors pick them, or if it’s a package from corporate headquarters.

  2. It’s very lighthearted. I see it more as a statement or observation on how niche identified we are presently becoming as a society…

  3. What a coward.

    An opinion, by definition, is not a universally held belief. A healthy society has an open forum for opinions and the freedom for individuals to good differing opinions. A newspaper is supposed to be just such a forum.

    As a reader and a cartoonist, I want to see views different from my own. Bowing to these demands is reinforcing the kind of absolutism and thought policing that is absolutely the worst pattern of human thought, whether it be Puritains or the LGBT+ crowd who happen to be using it.

    Bad form.

    1. A healthy society is also capable of recognizing when a particular opinion is actively harmful – to be clear, this does include your opinion that all opinions must be allowed.

      1. Since you have nominated yourself as the gatekeeper of what can be considered harmful and nonharmful opinions, will you be making yourself available to vet all public discourse?

        And what consequences will you be using to enforce your personal, entirely subjective will upon those who disagree with you?
        Deplatforming, re-education, public shaming, prison the forced consumption of Bud Light?

        In short, what harm are you willing to visit on those whose opinions you deem to be harmful?

        Bringing us full circle.

        Or we could embrace a diversity of opinion, accept a plurality of public opinion, become a vibrant rainbow of reasonable disagreement and celebrate the fact that a healthy culture is one in which no one opinion is considered to be the objective, moral standard for all.

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