Looking at this page, you may notice the absence of the traditional editorial cartoons. The reason is that The Mayfield Messenger has received some complaints and even had cancellations of subscriptions over editorial cartoons about President Donald Trump. The most recent one depicted the president standing in a military cemetery uttering the words “suckers” and “losers,” and the deceased veterans, with their separate grave stones marked “War Hero,” saying “Vote Him Out” in thought balloons.
This was in reference to the recent story in The Atlantic that cited multiple people with “firsthand knowledge” of comments made after the cancellation of his visiting a cemetery of deceased American military members near Paris, reportedly due to weather conditions, and allegedly calling Marines who died in World War I at Belleau Wood “suckers.”
President Trump, who had previously publically blistered the late Sen. John McCain — a U.S. Navy veteran and Vietnam War POW — by saying he “wasn’t a war hero” and “I like people who weren’t captured,” has denied saying the derogatory comments attributed to him in the article. A White House spokesperson also responded that the story was false and pointed to increased military spending, veteran reform and military spousal support.
I understand that people would have an issue with that. The comments referenced are from anonymous sources, but sometimes journalism operates with anonymous sources that are also checked by different anonymous sources. Watergate and Deep Throat are examples of that in our country’s relatively recent history. Granted, people said Deep Throat was made up and late in life Mark Felt was eventually exposed as the infamous background informant who helped bring down then-President Richard Nixon’s administration.
Some other complaints I’ve heard about this newspaper’s editorial page is that it is too liberal or has become liberal of late. I heard the same things when George W. Bush was in the White House. I can honestly say I do keep our readers in mind when I look at columnists and cartoons to run on this page. But like many things we all do, I can choose right or I can choose wrong.
I did want to take a sample of political cartoons we have run over the past month or so to see if these claims were true. Since July 15, by my count there were six editorial cartoons in the Mayfield Messenger that poked fun at Trump. During that same timeframe, there were seven that poked fun at Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden or progressives. The majority of editorial cartoons we ran (14) touched on topics like the coronavirus, Congress, and even the California wildfires.
Also, there were editorial pages that split written commentary down the middle with one conservative pundit and a progressive writer commenting about this issue or that. There were also a few times when the columnists were all conservatives, such as the Bluegrass Institute’s Jim Waters, Fox News contributor John Stossel, or our local state leaders.
I know the vast majority of our readers and residents lean right, but I also know simply showing one side of a perspective does no one any good. I think it’s like trying to get traction on an icy road. You need something to catch the treads to get moving, otherwise you’re just spinning your wheels.
A loyal reader, Judith Tuggle, wrote a letter to the editor months ago responding to an editorial I wrote with which she agreed. In that letter, she expressed why seeing different takes on a matter is vital. She wrote: “I also appreciate the voice the newspaper gives to our elected representatives to essentially explain themselves to us. The other piece on (Wednesday’s) editorial page was a thoughtful examination of our relationship with China written by Representative James Comer. I rarely agree with Mr. Comer’s votes, but I am glad that through my local newspaper, I can learn not only how he votes, but why.”
Two sides to every coin. I see where that cartoon of Trump in the cemetery would offend people. The intent of the cartoonist, I believe, was to express satirically what the response would be from those who sacrificed for our country to these alleged, reported comments. On this, we can disagree. We can also agree to disagree. And the editorial page has again done its job.