critical thinking: J-school students and industry vets tackle the tough questions.

Author:Higdon, Bridget
Position:Editorial and political cartoons
 
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Q: "Recently, the New York Times stopped printing editorial cartoons in its international edition due to a cartoon's anti-Semitic imagery. Other editorial cartoonists have been fired for their depictions of President Trump. Did those publications respond correctly?"

A: In the United States, it is a constitutional right to be able to express opinions freely, without fear of censorship or reprimand. Protected by the First Amendment, the freedoms of speech and of the press are essential to a functioning democracy. Questioning, critiquing, and praising are how we hold our political leaders and our system of government accountable.

History shows us that editorial cartoonists have long been combining social and political criticism with art.

Benjamin Franklin's cartoon, Join, or Die, which urged the American colonies to join the independence movement, was published in 1754 in the Pennsylvania Gazette. American artist Thomas Nast supported Abraham Lincoln's campaign for president in several of his cartoons, published in 1864 in Harper's Bazaar.

British artist James Gillray often ridiculed George III and Napoleon Bonaparte, turning them into caricatured buffoons in the late 18th century. The New Zealand cartoonist David Low produced a cartoon mocking the relationship between Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin in 1939 for the Evening Standard.

Cartoons and newspapers have been linked for decades. Their relationship is part of what makes reading a newspaper an enjoyable experience. Cartoonists can bring imagination, humor, or seriousness to a variety of issues.

Firing editorial cartoonists for their controversial art not only violates their right to free speech, but it robs the public of the full story.

What newspapers choose to publish, or not to publish, matters greatly. When one voice is censored, a side of the story, a piece of the puzzle, goes missing. It is the job of the media to present the truth, to share all voices and stories, even those that some individuals will disagree with.

Bridget Higdon, 21 senior, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt.

Higdon is pursuing a degree in English with a writing concentration. She is the editor-in-chief of UVM's student-run newspaper, the Vermont Cynic.

A: We, as newspapers, are losing the impactful and often poignant statements of political cartoons, and while some cartoons have crossed the line into racism and anti-Semitism these longtime functions of our newspapers is being extricated for what seems to be...

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