Seneca Journal apologizes after publishing ‘offensive editorial cartoon’

Local News

In the apology, the paper said Wednesday’s pages were not reviewed with “the normal attention to detail” due to Tuesday being election night. (Image courtesy James Pringle via Report It)

SENECA, S.C. (WSPA) – The Seneca Journal issued an apology for publishing an “offensive editorial cartoon” in Wednesday’s newspaper.

“As a newspaper, we are supposed to be a reflection of our community — one community. Not a white community or a black one, but one community. We failed in that yesterday … miserably. We printed a painful reminder of the division we all feel right now,” the paper said in their apology posted their website.

The political cartoon depicted the African-American community as a woman with two children. She was explaining why she could not leave “him,” referring to the Democratic party.

In the apology, the paper said Wednesday’s pages were not reviewed with “the normal attention to detail” due to Tuesday being election night.

“We rushed and we skipped part of our own internal controls, and we know better. Moving forward, all cartoons will have to be approved prior to being placed on our pages as well. They’ll be treated the same way a story gets treated,” the paper said.  

The paper said they met with several leaders from the African-American community Wednesday to apology. They plan to have policy changes and for someone to be held accountable for the cartoon being published.

The paper said the cartoon does not reflect the views or values of the newspaper and have asked for the community’s forgiveness.

In social media posts, the paper asked for any additional comments to be sent to the editor at newsed@upstatetoday.com.

Below is the paper’s full apology:

We’re Sorry

Sometimes, there’s almost nothing else to say.

As a newspaper, we are supposed to be a reflection of our community — one community. Not a white community or a black one, but one community. We failed in that yesterday … miserably. We printed a painful reminder of the division we all feel right now.

There are no words we can put here that will erase the mistake that was made Wednesday in publishing such an offensive editorial cartoon.

It is not lost on us the pain and anger that many of you felt. But we own that. It was our mistake, and if you’ll allow us, we’ll do everything within our power to be inclusive and reflective of our entire community.

Political cartoons are powerful tools that are designed to make you laugh or think about a given situation. But they’re not supposed to make you hurt. Wednesday’s depiction of an African-American family did just that.

It made you hurt — many of you.

People are angry with us, and they have a right to be. They want policies changed and someone fired, and we’re going to do that.

We purchased that cartoon and many others from nationally syndicated cartoonist Al Goodwyn. That cartoon may have appeared in dozens of newspapers around the country on Wednesday, but he won’t be working for us anymore.

Procedurally, this was a terrible mistake. On a normal night, the newspaper is finished early and several people read over it. But Tuesday night was election night, and with results coming in so late, we weren’t finished until well after midnight, and the pages weren’t reviewed with the normal attention to detail. Even the editorial centerpiece on the page was a “Guest View” from another newspaper.

In short, we rushed and we skipped part of our own internal controls, and we know better. Moving forward, all cartoons will have to be approved prior to being placed on our pages as well. They’ll be treated the same way a story gets treated.  

On Wednesday, we met with several leaders from the African-American community to apologize and explain, and we want you to know that our doors are open — and our hearts are as well.

That cartoon does not reflect the views or the values of this newspaper, its staff, management or ownership.

We sincerely apologize for the cartoon, and we hope that you will find it in your hearts to accept our apology, forgive us, and trust us to take the steps necessary to be sure this never happens here again.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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