Newspaper apologizes for editorial cartoon

Editorial cartoonists usually get pretty wide latitude.

This was too wide.

The Albuquerque Journal printed cartoonist Sean Delonas’ work this week anyway, sparking a backlash and prompting the publisher of the conservative-leaning newspaper to apologize. The paper has editorialized for a path to citizenship for “Dreamers.”

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said it was an attempt to doom any agreement on what to do about people who were brought here illegally as children.

This afternoon, the paper’s editor, Karen Moses, issued an apology:

Political cartoons are often satire and poke at more than one point of view. I do not presume to know what cartoonist Sean Delonas was trying to convey in his cartoon that was published in Wednesday’s Albuquerque Journal. But on one level it appeared to us to be poking at President Trump’s rhetoric by portraying a quaking Republican couple who were painting Dreamers with a broad, totally false, brush.

Obviously, that was not the message received by many readers. Instead, many saw an extremely objectionable cartoon and thought that was the position of the Journal. It is not.

In hindsight, instead of generating debate, this cartoon only inflamed emotions. This was not the intent, and for that, the Journal apologizes.

I repeat that the Albuquerque Journal does not condone racism or bigotry in any form.

I also want to reiterate that we do not agree with many of the opinions expressed on the editorial pages, which are intended to encourage debate. Also, the editorial board decides what to publish on these pages, and that is separate from the newsroom and its reporters.

Moses, who has had two days to find out what Delonas was trying to convey, can’t possibly be surprised that Delonas inflammed racial and ethnic tensions. It’s what he does.

And from an editorial point of view, if you don’t know what a writer or cartoonist is trying to say, why print it?