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Offensive Cartoon & Editor’s Objections

Sometimes editors complain about cartoons they don’t print. Take a look …

Here’s an interesting exchange I just had with an editor at the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette in Indiana, about this Dick Wright cartoon.

On Jul 25, 2022, at 7:31 AM

I understand your willingness to accommodate all viewpoints, so I have long bit my tongue at the blatant distortions of Dick Wright and his ilk. But when he crosses the line into outright lies, then it’s time for me to speak up and you to act. The attached cartoon is demonstrably false – and you know it. What do you intend to do about it?

Keith Elchert
The Journal Gazette

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Dear Keith,

We sometimes get complaints from editors who object to cartoons they don’t choose to run; like you, they are objecting to our making the cartoons available to other editors who might choose to run them. In almost all cases, these complaints come from conservative editors demanding that we kill liberal cartoons –so your complaint is unusual.

We observe that moderate and liberal editors often run conservative cartoons, wanting to present both sides of issues. Conservative editors tend not to run both sides. By providing a full range of views across the political spectrum, we present conservative editors with many great cartoon choices that they wouldn’t otherwise consider, and sometimes a few liberal cartoons sneak through onto conservative editorial pages.

We sometimes kill conservative cartoons, that fall into the spectrum of mainstream political discussion, because we find them offensive and wrong. Examples are cartoons that are transphobic, cartoons accusing Dominion Voting Systems of fraud and cartoons promoting the use of Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID. Many conservative cartoons promote ideas that are arguably harmful to society, like climate change denial, which we have chosen not to kill. I personally find the conservative cartoons opposing abortion rights offensive, but we also allow these.

I have chosen not to kill the Dick Wright cartoon that you complained about. Although it is “demonstrably false” to claim that Biden stole the election, the cartoon depicts Republican elephants complaining that Biden stole the election; this is something we see many Republicans continually complaining about and a large percentage of them hold this false view, so the cartoon depicts a reality. Although the cartoon can be read as promoting “The Big Lie,” it is not the role of editorial cartoonists to convey facts and our editorial decisions are weighed on a different scale than the work of other journalists.

I’m sorry to trouble you with this cartoon that I expect will not be running in the Journal Gazette. We really appreciate the Journal Gazette as a subscriber to our service!

Best,
Daryl
CagleCartoons.com

 

The editor, Keith Elchert, wrote a friendly response.  (Sometimes the responses from conservatives are not so friendly.)

Thank you, Daryl, for taking the time to address my complaint more fully. I very much appreciate that.

And I understand and respect your reasoning. My reactions to some cartoons tend to be visceral (I imagine I’m not alone in that), but this was one that I thought went further than most. Having said that, I am grateful for your efforts to ensure balance and a diversity of viewpoints. I’m happy to have contributed to the blog discussion in some small way.

Best,
Keith

Keith Elchert
The Journal Gazette

By Daryl Cagle

Daryl Cagle is the founder and owner of Cagle Cartoons, Inc. He is one of the most widely published editorial cartoonists and is also the editor of The Cagle Post.