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AAEC responds to Perry attack on Jack Ohman cartoon
Last week, Texas Governor Rick Perry wrote a letter to the editor of the Sacramento Bee demanding an apology from the paper for running a Jack Ohman cartoon depicting Perry boasting of booming business followed by a depiction of an explosion. The governor claimed it was “mocking the tragic deaths” of those who died in the explosion. The newspaper and Ohman responded that it was due to lax regulations that the governor boasted of that led the explosion.
The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists has released a statement charging that Texas Governor Rick Perry, as a government official, is trying to suppress critical free speech on such a weighty issue – something that should not be tolerated in a free society.
Here’s the AAEC statement:
The AAEC firmly stands behind Jack Ohman and his powerful cartoon on the tragedy in West, Texas. The Ohman cartoon represents the finest traditions of both American political cartooning and our freedom of the press. On the other hand the Texas governor’s response demanding a retraction and an apology, represents the worst impulses of those who have no respect for our most basic and fundamental right to free speech. Governor Perry attacking the cartoonist is the kind of reaction we’d expect from a leader in North Korea, not one from Texas.
The attempt to intimidate a journalist for being critical of the government, particularly the call on the part of the Texas Lt. Governor to have him lose his job, is what should be condemned. This sort of intimidation of journalists is, at its root, just plain un-American.