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Feedback 11/7

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Taking offense: the RBJ cartoon

A recent editorial cartoon published in the Rochester Business Journal, mocking transgender people, led to protests and to an apology from RBJ editor Ben Jacobs. In addition, the RBJ decided to stop publishing editorial cartoons, which, Jacobs said, weren't consistent with the publication's mission.

Our article about the controversy generated a discussion about the purpose of editorial cartoons, including two comments from cartoonists themselves.

Although my views are diametrically opposed to my fellow cartoonist, Rick McKee's, I stand with those who say the paper should not have apologized for running it.

We can either pretend that views we disagree with don't exist or we can look at them squarely and counter them with better arguments or, in this case, better cartoons that argue for another point of view –or many points of view!

Cartoons don't kill people. Let them start conversation, not stop it.

SIGNE WILKINSON

Wilkinson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist with the Washington Post Syndicate.

I agree with my colleague Signe Wilkinson. The fact is the editorial cartooning profession is made up of a majority of white males. If editors continue to run cartoons by creators who have only experienced certain life experiences, you're going to get these myopic points of view.

The answer isn't to demand certain images be off-limits. The long-term answer is to get more varied points of view represented and published.

ANN TELNAES

Telnaes is an editorial cartoonist for The Washington Post.

The group thinkers move, once more, to squelch opinions that run counter to their fragile PC sensibilities. Political debate requires two sides, but the left can't handle opposing views so the Opinions Page becomes an echo chamber.

We don't need more sensitivity training, we need more insensitivity training.

GLENN MCCOY

"RBJ cartoon brings protests and apology" – and the death of an American art form old as Ben Franklin. Congratulations.

MIKE LESTER

Editorial cartoons should annoy, irritate, offend, prod, or upset some viewers who might just need the message.

MARY COBLENTZ BOYD

This lunacy has to stop. Dehumanizing and demonizing people because you don't like some of their political views is anti-American. We are all in this together. Play nice.

DEE BEAN

Satire is a tool to criticize power using humor. If you're making fun of those who are already oppressed, that isn't funny. It's bullying.

JESS MEYER-CROSBY

City's 'deer' ad

I wasn't particularly concerned when I saw that City had expanded its revenue stream by inserting advertising supplements into its paper. Times are financially tough for newspapers, especially alternative ones.

But what I did find unconscionable and shocking was that your October 24 issue included an ad stating the following: "Fallow deer. 6 remain. You hunt –$1500." 

For your paper to make a few dollars running ads for local merchants is one thing. But to offer a blood-sport vendor the use of your paper to promote his barbarism is nothing short of despicable.

LARRY BAKER

City publishers' response: Most of us in the media have a strong commitment to freedom of speech, and that includes commercial speech. That means we publish letters to the editor expressing opinions we disagree with. We interview political candidates we disagree with. We publish advertising for political candidates we don't agree with. And we publish ads for services and products that we don't like, as long as they're legal and aren't libelous, racist, anti-Semitic, etc.

The news media have a privilege that most people don't: the ability to send out our editorial opinions to a vast number of people. That privilege comes with the responsibility to leave some of our space open to the publication of things we don't agree with, whether that's a promotion for a political candidate or products and services.

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