Friday, July 22, 2011

A valid point? Or a step too far?

This is Peter Brookes' cartoon from today's issue of The Times:

I'm not a political blogger but I am a cartoonist and I know what Brookes was trying to say here; that while we're all focused on the News International scandal we're missing the truly horrible famine disaster in Africa. However, the cartoon was published in a News International paper and, I'm afraid, in the current climate, it just smacks of a cynical attempt to deflect attention away from themselves.

It's absolutely right that we should be looking at world events as a whole and paying the greater attention to those that are most important. On Twitter this morning, some people drew parallels between Brookes' cartoon and Kevin Carter's iconic vulture and starving boy photo. Carter was both lauded and treated with disdain for his shot and, to some degree, it cost him his life. But this is different. If the cartoon had appeared in a publication not owned by Murdoch, it would have been valid. As it is, being told to look away by News International just comes across as tasteless and crass. I guess it's the price we pay for the lack of sub-editors these days.

We could take the view that any publicity for the disaster is good publicity. It's hard to argue with that. But I can't help feel that News International might be able to do a lot more good if they made the famine in Africa a front page story across all of their titles, rather than just allude to it in a cartoon. Then, Murdoch or not, I would applaud them.


Mo said...

The implication that if the phone hacking stories weren't on the front pages the famine would be is particularly cynical. Most of use are aware that the UK news agenda would push the crisis in Africa to page 3 or 4 or to the foregin pages in the Times and even further back and smaller in the red tops no matter what was dominating the news. Brookes may well have been being sincere in his message but the publishers of his paper were not.
Are cartoonists on the Times given a subject to cover each day? I know that that is the case elsewhere.

She Means Well... said...

Definitely a valid point. No contest.

Anonymous said...

It is particularly comic for the perpetrator of sensationally corrupt acts, responsible to a large extent for sensationalising media in the UK, to complain that they are being covered sensationally.

I wonder if a massive scandal had originated in the Guardian and it involved a Labour government what The Times, Sun's and NoTW's approach would have been.