Authful Cartoon

With the passing of political cartoonists Herblock and Jeff McNally, Tony Auth of the Philadelphia Inquirer stands virtually alone as the senior and most-circulated American cartoonist. Auth, a Pulitzer Prize winner, has been editorial cartoonist at the Inquirer for over 30 years and serves on the paper’s editorial board.

At the start of the Palestinian war, Auth portrayed Yasir Arafat urging children to plunge to martyrs’ deaths over a cliff. He drew other cartoons showing Arafat with blood on his hands.

On February 24, Auth turned his attention again to the Middle East conflict. While cartoons are meant to exaggerate, Auth’s creation horribly distorted events in the region.

Auth depicted an angry Ariel Sharon storming up steps toward “more and more violence,” calling to a pile of bodies behind him, “Follow me Israelis! (and let’s hear no dissent).”

Auth’s cartoon warps the truth about the violence. The recent escalation began with Palestinian bombs, mortars, shootings, and rockets on Israeli civilians and soldiers. Auth confuses Israeli defensive measures with Palestinian terror attacks. Arafat and his subordinate organizations are charging ahead with more attacks.

As for Israeli dissent, Israel’s political and media arena is open and free. It was Yasir Arafat who recently drew his pistol and slapped one of his lieutenants who challenged him.

And as for the Palestinian media, the well-known human rights group Freedom House reports that: “Under a 1995 Palestinian press law, journalists may be fined and jailed, and newspapers closed, for publishing ‘secret information’ on Palestinian security forces or news that might harm national unity or incite violence.”

The Auth cartoon is also syndicated, so it may have also appeared in your local newspaper.

If you think Auth’s cartoon distorts facts of the conflict, send complaints to Auth’s mailbox:

Or to the Philadelphia Inquirer feedback site:

The most effective method is to write a letter in your own words. Otherwise, use the following letter as a basis.

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.

========== SAMPLE LETTER OF COMPLAINT ============

To the Editor:

Tony Auth’s cartoon (Feb. 24) shows Israel’s Prime Minister Sharon leading Israelis to “more and more violence” while discouraging dissent.

Mr. Auth drew the wrong villain.

Yasir Arafat and his subordinates have been leading the region to “more and more violence.” In recent speeches, Arafat called for “a million martyrs” and for “Jihad, Jihad, Jihad!” As for discouraging dissent, Arafat recently slapped and drew his pistol against one of his own lieutenants who challenged his authority.

The killing fields portrayed in Auth’s cartoon are filled with the victims of Palestinian terror. Indeed, President Bush and his administration have repeatedly placed the onus on Arafat, not Israel, to stop terrorism and violence.

============= TERROR IN JERUSALEM =================

On Monday, February 25, two Arab gunmen opened fire at a bus stop in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Neve Yaakov, killing one Israeli and wounding at least 10 others.

How did your local media refer to Neve Yaakov? We have already seen it referred to as a “Jewish settlement” and as a “neighborhood of historically Arab East Jerusalem.”

In truth, Neve Yaakov is in north Jerusalem, not East Jerusalem. Furthermore, history shows that Neve Yaakov was established as a Jewish neighborhood in 1924 and named after Rabbi Yaakov Reines, who died in 1915. In an Arab offensive during Israel’s War of Independence, the Jordanian Arab Legion occupied Neve Yaakov, expelling the Jewish residents. The area remained in Arab hands only between 1948 and 1967. Then, during the Six Day War, Israel re-captured Neve Yaakov and re-settled it.

HonestReporting encourages members to monitor their local media and respond to any misrepresentation regarding the status of Neve Yaakov.