Fuck Newsweek

The May 17, 2004 issue of Newsweek featured this cartoon.

Is it just me or is this utterly tasteless? I was appalled by the abuses at Abu Ghraib and I fully believe that those responsible (in Iraq and, if it can be proven, here) should be punished to the fullest degree of the law, but it doesn’t minimize or justify the horror and heartbreak of American troops (who had nothing to do with Abu Ghraib and who are mostly kids by the definition of most people my age [37] and up) being killed in the slightest. Perhaps I’m reading the cartoon wrong, but if so I think it’s a valid interpretation.


I think the cartoon refers to the attempt to keep photos of dead American soldiers out of the press. We didn’t want the American people to see the coffins, in other words, but now they’ve seen something that can damage their morale and support 100X worse.

I don’t think it’s particularly tasteful, but then I’d hate to be a political cartoonist in times like these.

Amen to that. I would imagine most of them are dreaming of a nice, comical sex scandal.

I took the woman to be saying something like, “Tragic as flag-covered coffins may be, they’re are least not dishonourable.”


I think you’re reading the cartoon wrong.

Look at news search results for “flag-draped coffins”.

They’re virtually all about the Pentagon’s attempts to keep them under wraps (so to speak,) supposedly in the interest of spin control.

You’ll also note that the photos of flag-draped coffins became a total non-story after 60 Minutes II showed the photos on April 28th. Poof. Off the radar.

The cartoonist was making a simple observation – they were the “damaging photos” in April. Relative to the prisoner-abuse photos, they’re “not so bad,” in terms of damage control for support for the war.

That’s not to say that dead kids are nothing to be concerned about.

I don’t think the joke is offensive, but it is phrased in a very unfortunate way that leads to a easy misinterpretation that is extremely offensive. Could have done a better job.

I find it amazing that someone would find THAT CARTOON offensive compared to the other two items under investigation mentioned in the cartoon.

Sampiro, the people you want to Pit are Jeff Stahler, who drew the cartoon, and the Cincinnati Post, who originally published it. Newsweek merely reprinted the cartoon in “Perspectives”, their weekly roundup of quotes and political cartoons. I don’t believe they endorse everything in that feature.

However, I have no objection to the cartoon, and second what Larry Mudd said.

You’re not kidding. They are taking a ton of abuse. I regularly read Daryl Cagle’s Blog, in which he discusses which cartoonists are feeling the heat. (Cagle is a political cartoonist for Slate.)

Cagle has been very critical of Newsweek’s Perspectives section for pulling only certain types of cartoons and thereby influencing what cartoonists draw. I’m not sure I agree with him, but if you enjoy Perspectives and want to see the full spectrum of political cartoons each week, I highly recommend Slate’s Professional Cartoonists Index. Like the Straight Dope, it’s an invaluable way to get a new understanding of current events, and the occasional laugh.

And the cartoonist completely failed to include in the mix the guy that got decapitated on video. What was he, chopped liver?

That was my first impression as well.

I mean everyone already knew that those flag-draped coffins existed. We expected them. And as grave and sorrowful as they are, we were prepared for the sight of them. “We’re at war,” we say.
But the Abu Ghraib photos and reports, (and the various other illegalities), that’re coming out are more shocking in that they were so unexpected by many of us. These things are dishonourable. We’ve dishonoured our word we gave when we decided to uphold the relevant US laws, interntional treaties and agreements.

Personally, I wish that the pictures of the coffins were the worst images coming from the war.

…there was an incident here in NZ a few years ago, when a father went crazy and killed his family with a knife. I remember at the time, it didn’t really affect me because there was a lot going on in my life at the time-and events like this just kinda blocked themselves out of my mind, and you tend to get immune to this sort of thing anyway… then I opened up the paper and the political cartoon for the day was something so simple yet so graphic I think I cried on the spot-it was a drawing of the outside of a door with thirteen empty shoes outside… (it is common in NZ not to wear your shoes in the house for a lot of Maori families-the imagery just hit home)

…political cartoons aren’t always supposed to be funny-they are also there to make you think. Tom Scott was the cartoonist-and while I couldn’t find the cartoon in question, there are samples of his work here:


I’d LOVE to be a political cartoonist in times like these! If only I could draw. (And yes, I know that some cartoonists don’t let an inability to draw keep them from soldiering on, but still … )