Publishers, the patrons of the art

January 29, 2013 in Comment, General, News

A public kerfuffle over a Gerald Scarfe cartoon published after the recent Israeli elections has resulted in a public apology from Rupert Murdoch the publisher of The Sunday Times, the paper in which the image appeared.

A publisher apology is a rare thing in journalism of any sort but it should be noted that neither the paper, its acting editor or the cartoonist himself have apologised for the publication of the image itself. Any regret expressed has been directed towards the timing of publication, as the cartoon appeared on Holocaust Memorial Day.

If nothing else, this story reveals that even within strictly hierarchical print-publication businesses, dissent and, perhaps, mistakes are still possible.

Updated 10am: You can listen to a lively debate on Radio 4 Today between cartoonist Steve Bell (one of our members) and Stephen Pollard, editor of The Jewish Chronicle.

Updated 6.15pm: The cartoonist has issued a short statement. The acting editor of the newspaper, Martin Ivens, has now also offered an apology stating that the cartoonist “had crossed a line”. You can read the full statement from the newspaper here.

Updated 9am, 30 January: Press Gazette (UK journalism trade magazine) reports that Scarfe’s cartoon is now also removed from all e-editions of The Sunday Times.

You may also watch the BBC Newsnight segment on the story on iPlayer.

1 response to Publishers, the patrons of the art

  1. Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words ! Murdoch’s reaction can only be seen in the light of the fact that News International isn’t the most truthful of organisations. The old gentleman’s been through the mill about that and would rather ditch Scarfe than have to close down another paper.

    Besides, the cartoon in question is hardly groundbreaking – savage, yes – but that’s what Scarfe does. Suggesting  that Israel’s present policy is wrong is a legitimate point of view. Suggesting that the UK’s [England’s actually] actions in Northern Ireland/ Iraq/Afghanistan were wrong is equally legitimate.

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