A South Carolina newspaper is facing a flood of criticism (and cancellations) after running a controversial political cartoon in which genocidal Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler endorses the Tea Party movement.
The cartoon – which appeared in the October 22 print editions of The Aiken (S.C.) Standard – attempts to connect supporters of the limited government movement with the fascist ideology espoused by history’s most notorious mass murderer.
Not only that, the artist responsible for the cartoon – Monte Wolverton – has previously depicted Tea Party members as subhumans who advocate a return to the Stone Age.
“I’m Adolph Hitler and I approve of the Tea Party’s message … because apparently they approve of mine,” Wolverton writes in the cartoon.
Take a look …
Wolverton’s cartoon has appeared in numerous different newspapers across the country, but its appearance in Aiken – a fairly conservative region of South Carolina – provoked a visceral reaction.
“There is thought provoking and then there is riot prompting and you have stepped into the realm of the latter,” one local resident wrote in an email to Scott Hunter, the newspaper’s publisher.
“Apparently (Scott) Hunter does not understand that the tea party approves of free markets, free speech and freedom from government intrusion which is the opposite of fascism,” another resident wrote. “To compare tea parties with someone who is directly responsible for killing millions of innocents is disgusting and unforgivable.”
Local politicians got in on the outrage, too.
“I join the chorus of voices protesting this morning’s editorial cartoon comparing the Tea Parties to Hitler,” local Republican House candidate Bill Taylor wrote in an email to the paper. “It was offensive and wrong-headed.”
We agree … and having exercised its right to free speech, The Aiken Standard must now deal with the free market consequences of its decision.
UDPATE: Speaking of which, if you’d like to share your thoughts on the cartoon with Hunter, his address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE II: Aiken Standard publisher Scott Hunter has just issued a statement apologizing for the cartoon. To read Hunter’s statement in its entirety, click here.
Scott B. Hunter
Editor & Publisher