Thought for the day

The Washington Post published Michael Ramirez’s November 8 editorial cartoon “Human Shields” (below), but not for long.

Opinion editor David Shipley has removed it in deference to the allegedly hurt feelings of staffers and/or readers who declared it “racist.” They apparently found the Hamas spokesman depicted in the cartoon insufficiently charismatic. Shipley explained in an editor’s note that preceded a set of equally obtuse letters to the editor:

As editor of the opinion section, I am responsible for what appears in its pages and on its screens. The section depends on my judgment. A cartoon we published by Michael Ramirez on the war in Gaza, a cartoon whose publication I approved, was seen by many readers as racist. This was not my intent. I saw the drawing as a caricature of a specific individual, the Hamas spokesperson who celebrated the attacks on unarmed civilians in Israel.

However, the reaction to the image convinced me that I had missed something profound, and divisive, and I regret that. Our section is aimed at finding commonalities, understanding the bonds that hold us together, even in the darkest times.

In this spirit, we have taken down the drawing. We are also publishing a selection of responses to the caricature. And we will continue to make the section home to a range of views and perspectives, including ones that challenge readers. This is the spirit of opinion journalism, to move imperfectly toward a constructive exchange of ideas at all possible speed, listening and learning along the way. —David Shipley, Opinion Editor

The Washington Free Beacon’s Drew Holden covered the story of the Post’s removal of the cartoon in “WaPo Took Down Hamas Cartoon Amid Staffers’ ‘Deep Concerns,’ Internal Memo Indicates.” The Post itself covered the story in “Washington Post deletes editorial cartoon criticized as racist.” The New York Post finds the Washington Post’s stated rationale to be lacking in the editorial “The Washington Post made a huge mistake in killing this cartoon.”

Something tells me that Ramirez remains undaunted. He returned on November 9 with a caricature of Rep. Rashida Tlaib that he titled “Blinkered” (below). In his post of the cartoon at his Substack newsletter Ramirez explains: “House censures Representative Tlaib for her use of a slogan that calls for the elimination of Israel.”

Copyright Ⓒ 2023 Michael Ramirez. All rights reserved. Republished with permission.

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