The decision by editors at the Washington Post not to run a cartoon that mentioned, but did not depict, Muhammad, is the subject of today’s news release by Catholic League president Bill Donohue:
On October 8, I noted how Universal decided to nix the words, “electric cars are so gay,” from the trailer of “The Dilemma.” I ended by saying, “There are protected demographic groups in society, and people of faith, save for Muslims, are not among them.” Two days later, the Washington Post proved my point: it decided not to publish a totally inoffensive cartoon [click here], one that shows kids and animals frolicking about in a park, simply because it asks, “Where’s Muhammad?”
According to Style editor Ned Martel, the reason for not printing the “Non Sequitur” strip by Wiley Miller was that “it seemed a deliberate provocation without a clear message”; executive editor Marcus Brauchli agreed.
So the problem is that Miller didn’t have a clear message. Maybe Tom Toles can bring him up to speed. On March 29, the Washington Post printed a cartoon [click here] by Toles that showed a picture of Jesus with the words, “Let the Children Come to Me”; in the same panel, there is a priest with the inscription “Decades of Abusive Priests” on his clothing, and another priest saying, “What a Great Recruitment Poster!” Nothing unclear about that: all priests are child molesters.
I am bringing this issue to the attention of the executive editors at the nation’s leading newspapers, and to the chairpersons of the nation’s leading schools of journalism. Both the March 29 cartoon, and the one that did not appear on October 10, will be submitted for their review. It’s time to have a national discussion on what passes as offensive fare these days. Or, more pointedly, whose sensibilities are to be protected, and whose are to be assaulted.
Contact Marcus Brauchli: BrauchliM@washpost.com