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Pensacola Cartoonist Depicts Ala. Newspaper Job Cuts As Leading to Return (and Triumph) of Bull Connor's Fire Hoses

Tom Blumer's picture

Recent job cuts at Alabama newspapers have been steep. The Birmingham Business Journal, which (ahem) apparently is not among the participants, reports that "Three of Alabama’s largest daily newspapers, including the Birmingham News, will lay off about 400 employees as they cut back their printing schedules and increase their focus on digital." The other affected publications include the Huntsville Times and the Mobile Press Register. The job cuts are on the order of 50%-60%.

Across the Alabama border in Florida at the Pensacola News Journal, cartoonist Andy Marlette did not handle the layoff news well, as will be seen after the jump.

As published late last week:


Apparently volunteering to be the next publication which ends up shrinking because it could care less about readers' sensibilities, the News Journal and its cartoonist are defensively digging in:

(the News Journal) Richard A. Schneider, the PNJ’s executive editor, said the cartoon was a historical metaphor that fits squarely with the mission of the editorial page, and the newspaper will not apologize.

The cartoon, by the paper’s five-year editorial cartoonist Andy Marlette, depicts two cartoon firefighters hosing down two black cartoon characters. The caption reads: “Don’t worry, since they laid off all the journalists in Alabama we can get away with this kind of stuff again.”

... The illustration references famous 1960s-era photos from photographer Charles Moore, which showed firefighters turning fire hoses on black marchers during civil-rights demonstrations in Birmingham, Ala. The photos appeared in Life magazine and are widely credited with playing a role in swaying American public opinion in favor of the civil-rights movement.

(Marlette) Marlette said those photos demonstrated the watchdog power of journalism that today is threatened by newsroom cuts.

“In the context of the mass layoffs of Alabama’s journalists, the cartoon is a dark comment on the fact that the most sinister things happen — in fact have always happened — when nobody is there to show and tell about them,” he said.

Schneider said the paper has offered the firefighters — and all readers — the opportunity to submit letters to the editor in response.

“The News Journal has a long history of inviting and publishing viewpoints from people who take strong exception to editorials and editorial cartoons. We believe that to be the mission of our Opinions section,” Schneider said. “The firefighters don’t see it that way, and we offer them the chance to respond as sharply as they wish with a Viewpoint in our newspaper. We hope they take advantage of it.”

Metaphor, schmetaphor. The cartoon literally communicates the idea that laying off journalists will lead to the return of the Bull Connor era (by the way, as a reminder, that would be Democrat Bull Connor).

Someone forgot to tell the News Journal and Marlette that it's not 1963, that "journalists" don't own the news, and that anyone observing such an offensive scene with a smartphone or tablet in their possession in 2012 could record it.

If "journalists" at so many local and regional papers hadn't spent the last 40 or so years whitewashing the news (e.g., refusing to identify violent criminals on the loose by race so they might, you know, get apprehended; refusing to call illegal aliens, you know, illegal aliens; and turning into apologists and boosters for virtually every urban big-government scheme imaginable), I might have more sympathy. But the fact is that the "journalists" have largely brought this on themselves by doing lousy work and having misplaced priorities. In the process, they have unfortunately dragged good people in other areas of their publications down with them.

Heckuva job, guys and gals.

Cross-posted at


#1 Scare tactics at their very

Scare tactics at their very best. It amazes me, maybe it shouldn't, that libs I know are the quickest to shout about scare tactics from Republicans and are completely blind to stuff like this. Well at least we can see the dinosaur print media will not go quietly. They will race bait and fear monger all the way down.

#2 And they wonder why so many

And they wonder why so many "journalists" are being laid off...?

#3 It's Marlette, with an "L"

And if his style looks familiar, he's the nephew of the late Doug Marlette, well-known editorial cartoonist and more-well-know creator of the comic strip Kudzu.

#4 Thanks for catching that

Fixed. i and l are hard to distinguish in the early a.m.

#5 Post-racial America

It's so wonderful to live in the post-racial country promised to us by our wonderful President.

#6 I would read the paper whne

I would read the paper whne my daughter lived there. I don't see how this cartoon ever made it by an editor. The Journal seemed to me to be conservative.

A well regulated militia being necessary to a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

#7 Technology

has a way of "democratizing" society. By that, I mean that what used to be available to just a few becomes available to many. Adam Smith's example was the mass manufacture of pins, which made pins available not only to the rich, but to all folks in society.

Computers have made "desktop publishing" available to more than just print shops. And technology now enables anyone to be a "journalist".

This cartoonist is deceiving himself if he thinks that any kind of Bull Connor wouldn't get millions of hits on YouTube. He should ask himself which professional journalists were there to record the bus monitor lady getting bullied. You know - the one that got $400k in vacation money because of the response of the public.

"Unfortunately, some people use belief-based facts rather than fact-based beliefs." -Par for the Course on Wed, 04/18/2012 - 5:38pm

#8 First, Alabam

Would need to vote all those dimwits back to office. I really dont think their interested it that!

Seek Truth, Defend Liberty

#9 It's this view of Amerikkka

that cause me to not read a print version of a newspaper. There are so few that have a pro-America view that I just assume that all have the same editorial slant. I don't want to pay for hate speech.

President Obama is a Muslim (from his own lips), Kenyan (read it from his publicist) a homosexual (read it on a news magazine cover) and a Socialist (I'm alive and can see it for myself)

#10 These liberal newspapers slay

These liberal newspapers slay me. My hometown paper is the same. They alienate 50% of their potential readers with their unrepentive, incredibly leftwing bias, then turn around and blame these same alienated readers for not buying their product. It's as if Folgers started putting chili powder in their coffee and then blamed the consumers for not buying it.

Of course, the obstinate media would rather go down in flames than cater to the backward conservatives. That's where their arrogance comes in. They feel that reporting the news is not enough. We ignorant slobs must be "educated". Evidently, according to liberals, selling newspapers shouldn't involve giving the customer something they like (or even tolerate).

Like der Fuhrer says, "Eat your peas!".

               A gun in your hand beats a cop on the phone.

#11 It's not like they WANT to cover something

Let's see--where we're the Woodwards and Bernsteins in waiting when John Edwards shtupped his floozie, or when The One "wrote" "his" "autobiographies," or any one of Eric Holder's scandals, etc.

Besides, if the Occutards had hoses turned on them, the press would be getting soaked.

#12 Uh, hold up a second...

Then there's this today from Reason:

Antonio Buehler was pumping gas last New Year’s Eve when he caught sight of two Austin, TX cops “manhandling a woman” during a DUI investigation. Buehler, a resident of Austin, pulled out his cell phone and began taking pictures of the arrest. This is where the trouble began.


It's far from cut and dried that having a cell phone will force the authorities to behave.  Spend some time with google and you can dig up more cases of this.  If Bull Connor were around today, he'd have teams beating anyone with a camera as well.

#13 The video you linked was edited. And the few I found on Bing

were, also.
As to Buehler's claim to be a Ranger supply officer, I find that kind of suspect, also. If true, my apology.
However, he loses a lot credibility, with his photos on his FB page carrying ronpaul signs at ronpaul rallies. And, Infowars? Really?

To re-elect Obama would be like the Titanic backing up and hitting the iceberg again.

#14 Something I've never understood

Liberals are, it seems to me, predominantly concerned about the future, as opposed to conservatives, who are predominantly concerned about maintaining the best of the traditions of the past. Yet, if that's true, I cannot for the very life of me understand why liberals are always stuck in 1964.

"Compared to some of the giants of history who've received this prize . . . my accomplishments are slight."--Barack Obama, on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize

#15 I love how journalists always

I love how journalists always prop themselves up as the only people defending civilization against descent into the Dark Ages. Silly me, I always figured that the things stopping the fire hoses was a) society has changed drastically since then and b) there are laws against that sort of thing, which tend to be enforced more harshly if the victim is a protected class.

#16 There may be a point missed here.

Why does any business feel the need to lay off working people and mangers? Could one reason be that the product of that business is no longer being purchased in quantities to require a large workforce? If a newspaper's editorial content and news reportage is slanted in a manner not in tune with that of their base readership, people are not going to buy the newspaper. Newspapers can print only so many thousands of copies which go un-purchased, unread and unwanted before they start feeling the economic pinch.

And since so many editors are unwilling to believe that their personal idea of right and appropriate coverage is incorrect, there will be no return to a more objective format. The local "newspaper", the Austin American-Spaceman, has an editorial staff so divorced from common sense, logic and fact, that ANY political coverage at state or federal level should be printed as an op-ed piece rather than news. If one were to believe the local paper, Odildo the Mad has not only found the key to economic recovery and job creation, but has reversed global warming, reversed global cooling, saved the endangered species, stopped the icecaps from melting, and cured every disease known to man by his efforts alone. And he plays golf, too!

These layoffs are nothing more than capitalism at work. If one's product is not salable, one needs to produce something which WILL sell. The proliferation of "instant news" from the internet appeals to people who would rather keep a finger on the pulse of the country. If the newspapers create a paper which appeals to more people by offering a less-biased point of view, perhaps people will purchase more copies.

I am of the opinion that most editors-in-chief will lament the fact that the majority of their readership "just don't get" the liberal POV. They "just aren't smart enough" to see that Odildo the Mad truly is "The One". Seems that the editors haven't realized that people are finally starting to see through the libturd talking points, and have decided not to support them.

It becomes a case of "evolve or go extinct", doesn't it?

#17 Too funny

My old brain is playing too many tricks on me lately. When I read this:

The cartoon, by the paper’s five-year editorial cartoonist Andy Marlette....

My brain at first saw this:

The cartoon, by the paper’s five-year old editorial cartoonist Andy Marlette...



#18 Lest they forget, Bull Connor was a DEMOCRAT.

How convenient that they forget the true party affiliation of Bull Connor. He was a cookie-cutter Alabama Democrat just like George Wallace. Funny how the crap rolls right back down to the feet of Democrats every time they pull out the Bull Connor card.

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