Texas Gov. Rick Perry is demanding an apology from the Sacramento Bee newspaper which published a controversial cartoon. The cartoon depicts Perry’s push for less regulations with the recent plant explosion that happened in Texas. The explosion killed 14 people, injured more than 200, and destroyed several homes.
An editor for the newspaper defended the cartoon by stating that it focused on Perry’s disregard for workers safety. The editor said that the cartoon was directed or aimed at the explosion. The editor believes that Rick Perry is trying to interpret the cartoon as disrespectful.
Perry wrote a letter to the bee saying, “it was with extreme disgust and disappointment I viewed your recent cartoon.”
“While I will always welcome healthy policy debate, I won’t stand for someone mocking the tragic deaths of my fellow Texans and our fellow Americans,” Perry wrote. “Additionally, publishing this on the very day our state and nation paused to honor and mourn those who died only compounds the pain and suffering of the many Texans who lost family and friends in this disaster.”
Ohman defended his cartoon with an Internet post, noting that the fertilizer plant “had not been inspected by the state of Texas since 2006″ and that many “Texas cities have little or no zoning, resulting in homes being permitted next to sparely inspected businesses that store explosive chemicals.”
Newspaper cartoons have always been big when it comes to criticizing politicians, but did the Sacramento Bee take it too far? Is Rick Perry right for demanding an apology? We talked in class about different pictures we would run and ones we wouldn’t, if you were working for the newspaper how would you handle this situation? Would you stand behind your artist or would you do some damage control and apologize?
Keep in mind your audience and the fact that you’re a California-based newspaper and not a Texas newspaper. Will that affect your decision-making?