I was troubled to see a cartoon by our own Taylor Jones, on the front page of FoxNews.com in what seems to be a screenshot of the congressional baseball game shooter’s Facebook page, along with the headline: “HISTORY OF HATE.” I thought it was unfair of Fox News to put Taylor in that spot.

Steve Sack, the Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune commented, “It could have been any cartoonist’s work there. They’re using a deranged moron’s actions to stifle satire. I’ve seen attacks on TV comedians today as well. Hang in there, Taylor.”

Steve is correct about the right focusing their ire on satire. Conservatives thrive on talk radio where liberals haven’t been able to find an audience because the nature of liberal discourse is different – morning zoo radio and late night comedians are where liberals commune. We would rather laugh at Colbert or Saturday Night Live than listen to hours of Rush Limbaugh preaching reassuringly to his choir. Liberals can laugh at themselves, while conservatives laugh at liberals. This is something we see in totalitarian states around the world, as over half of the world’s population lives in a nation that doesn’t allow cartoonists to draw their nation’s leader. Conservatives and despots both have trouble laughing at themselves. This is a worry to me when Trump talks about limiting press freedoms, and when the media picks up the right’s criticism of satire. I suspect we’ll see more examples of conservative media lumping cartoonists together with monsters.

I’m told that CNN has been repeatedly showing Taylor’s cartoon from the gunman’s Facebook page this morning.  Taylor sent me these comments …

• The fact that the alleged assailant had posted his comment, that Trump is a “mean and disgusting” person, right above my cartoon … Well, that’s the point I’ve been trying to make about Donald Trump all along. I’m less bothered by Trump’s somewhat quixotic policies, than with the impression I have that our president is a thoroughly repugnant individual. I think it’s possible that Hodgkinson might have posted numerous cartoons of mine, and others who’ve been very personal in their depictions of Trump, because of that recurrent theme.
 
• If any cartoonists, or perhaps all of us, and even more so Stephen Colbert or Rachel Maddow, helped propel Hodgkinson to his final, violent act, however minor our actual influence, it might be because Trump has personalized the presidency more than any president in our lifetime. (Perhaps Andrew Jackson, Trump’s new political hero, was on that par). Trump’s truly making these current moments of American history…all about him. And that has made reactions to Trump, whether from cartoonists or comedians, coalminers or violent madmen, all the more personal.