Jack Ohman

In opposing Miranda, sometimes it's right to be silent in cartooning...

A few days ago, I wrote about one of my cartoon colleagues doing a cartoon against the Miranda ruling.

Now, normally, I would have left it that. My pure astonishment at such a cartoon seemed sufficient. I mean, what more could you add?

Well, The Colleague in Question, Daryl Cagle, had posted this cartoon where he had called for the surviving alleged Boston bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, to be denied Miranda along with the Aurora theater and Gabby Giffords shooters. I pointed out that even lowly cartoonists were protected by Miranda and other Supreme Court rulings. For example, about every five to ten years, some major satire-based libel case is granted cert by the Supremes, and they routinely knock it down. It's the only time I feel all warm and fuzzy about Antonin Scalia.

Anyway, Daryl, bless his heart, posted the anti-Miranda cartoon.

I thought that was the end of the story until several of my other colleagues, the uniquely talented Matt Bors and Ann Telnaes, the great Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator, pointed out that Daryl had posted yet another version of the same cartoon.

The opposing viewpoint of the same cartoon.

Exact drawing, exact lettering, except for the fact, as Daryl noted, not really credibly, that editors could choose their own version. I note myself that he generously offered to post this same version after he had his brains kicked in for a few hours on his website over his position. Not wanting to seem, you know, non-ecumenical, he changed his caption slightly to reflect his love of editor's freedom of choice on Miranda.

Now, look. I doubt that an editorial has been written in the last 40 years against Miranda. I really do. So the groundswell of desire for an anti-Miranda cartoon out there seems rather microscopic. I think he actually put it up to Cover One's Cartooning Backside. I think it would have been better for him to just pull it entirely, say he was wrong, and call it a bad ink day.

But he didn't.

So the controversy spilled out in the Jim Romenesko website, which is a much-read focal point for national journalism discussion and gossip. Lots of cartoonists wrote in to object to the cartoon and the flip-flop version.

Now that this work has been published, I will feel free to post it here.

I'm sure Daryl now wishes he had just remained silent.

Anything he says and does can be held against him. 

  Comments