Today’s editorial cartoon in the Gannett owned Tallahassee Democrat shows a police officer gassing a peaceful protestor – which appears to be Jesus – as President Trump looks on.
The cartoon was created by Andy Marlette who is listed as a cartoonist and columnist for the Pensacola News Journal, another Gannett owned newspaper.
TR has asked William Hatfield, the editor of the Tallahassee Democrat, if the cartoon was approved by officials in Tallahassee. We have yet to receive a response.
Political cartoons integrate caricatures of public figures with hyperbole and satire to express an opinion and question authority and draw attention to corruption, political violence and other social ills.
Labeled as opinion, political cartoons often times ignore or do not address certain facts in favor of making a broader point that may be out of context.
The cartoon by Marlette is addressing the narrative that the Trump administration ordered the use of tear gas on peaceful protestors to create a photo opportunity after President Trump held a press conference addressing the protests and riots taking place across the country.
Trump’s Monday press conference came hours after Sunday’s protests became violent in D.C. The Washington Post described the evening’s protests as a “night of destruction in D.C.”
A statement from the United States Park Police (USPP) is at odds with the narrative of Marlette’s cartoon and can be read in its entirety here. A part of the statement is included below.
On Monday, June 1, the USPP worked with the United States Secret Service to have temporary fencing installed inside Lafayette Park. At approximately 6:33 pm, violent protestors on H Street NW began throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids. The protestors also climbed onto a historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson days prior. Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street.
However, parts of the USPP statement have been questioned by other reports. From one report:
“According to multiple reporters who were on the ground documenting the events, the protests were entirely peaceful. “We didn’t see projectiles thrown at police. Certainly no bricks or ‘caustic liquids,’” Alexander Marquardt, a CNN reporter who was at Lafayette Square that evening, tweeted on Tuesday.”