The Washington Post has taken down a political cartoon after readers wrote it to the paper to complain the cartoon was “racist.”
David Shipley, editor of the opinion section of the Post, wrote in a rather confusingly worded “Editor’s note” (behind a paywall) that the paper would “continue to make the section home to a range of views and perspectives, including ones that challenge readers,” as part of the explanation of why it was doing the opposite of that.
The cartoon, by Michael Ramirez, was preserved in a post to X by Daniel Draymann, the chief product officer at Agot AI whose X profile describes him as “Passionate about … everything Israel.”
The cartoon showed a man, presumably a Hamas spokesman, saying “How dare Israel attack civilians …” while tied to him as human shields were a woman in Muslim garb, two young children, and two infants, one of which was crying.
I assume that’s the cartoon the cowards at The Washington Post took down. When the truth is dehumanizing, it’s still the truth. That Hamas hides behind Gaza’s civilians is an established fact. https://t.co/N5LsdVtTb9 pic.twitter.com/xZVeAaCZ1Q
— Daniel Dreymann (@Dreymann) November 9, 2023
Shipley took responsibility for posting the cartoon in the first place, saying that he relied on his “judgment” in deciding to post it.
“I saw the drawing as a caricature of a specific individual, the Hamas spokesperson who celebrated the attacks on unarmed civilians in Israel,” he wrote.
After outcry from readers, some of whose letters the Post published, Shipley made the decision to take the cartoon off the site.
“[T]he reaction to the image convinced me that I had missed something profound, and divisive, and I regret that,” he explained.
Shipley did not, however, explain what, exactly, he had missed that he now considered “profound, and divisive.”
One reader, however, complained that “Depicting Arabs with exaggerated features and portraying women in derogatory, stereotypical roles perpetuates racism and gender bias, which is wholly unacceptable.”
After claiming that the opinion page would continue to offer “a range of views and perspectives,” Shipley then stated his definition of the “spirit of opinion journalism,” which removing the cartoon seemed on its face to violate.
“This is the spirit of opinion journalism,” he wrote,” to move imperfectly toward a constructive exchange of ideas at all possible speed, listening and learning along the way.”
Unless, apparently, those ideas portrayed Hamas terrorists unfavorably, apparently.
Dreymann was quick to point out the Post’s apparent hypocrisy in his post to X.
“I assume that’s the cartoon the cowards at The Washington Post took down,” he wrote.
“When the truth is dehumanizing, it’s still the truth,” he added. “That Hamas hides behind Gaza’s civilians is an established fact.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.