Society Magazine

In Response to Bottom Line Communications Attack on the Star and Lee Judge

Posted on the 04 March 2013 by Morage @kebmebms

Normally, on all things media, I've found I agree with Bottom Line Communications. That is, when they stick to unbiased appraisals of media. But last week, they couldn't analyze the local paper, the Kansas City Star, without apparently having their own Catholic sympathies and affiliations thrown in:


John Landsberg
It seems as if when Kansas City Star cartoonist Lee Judge starts running out of creative ideas for his cartoons he falls back on old faithful:  the Catholic Church.

Just last month Judge was blasted locally and nationally for a cartoon that many people felt was horribly offensive that made fun of an American war hero who was killed at a gun range.  Navy Seal Kris Kyle’s death was used to extol Judge’s anti-gun agenda.

That cartoon caused so many  Star cancellations that the McClatchy-owned paper, which is fighting to stay in business, begged subscribers not to cancel. National talk show host Glenn Beck railed against the newspaper over the cartoon.

The national Newsbusters site called that Judge cartoon “wholly insensitive, and a craven attempt to smear an American hero who was tragically slain by a fellow veteran whom he was helping cope with  PTSD.”

Star editorial page editor Miriam Pepper was forced to try and defend Judge’s cartoon, insinuating that people simply weren’t intelligent enough to understand the cartoon and stressed “there was no intention to disrespect Kris Kyle.”

Star Readers’ Representative Derek Donovan took readers to task for their nasty responses to Judge’s cartoon.  “Most of them were profane and many directly threatened violence to Judge or his editors,” he noted.

However, while the newspaper is still reeling from the Navy Seal cartoon fallout, Judge has now taken aim at a familiar topic of hate: Catholics.

In December, he penned a cartoon that was clearly offensive to Catholics that made fun of the Pope and the fact he was opening a Twitter account.

Judge’s cartoon then asked: Why did the man with archaic views on women, gays, birth control, sex, marriage, health care and child molestation open a Twitter account?” 

Underneath a picture of the Pope, Judge answered his own question with: “He wants to keep up with the times.”

On Saturday, Judge, whose children reportedly attended Catholic schools, compared the Vatican to the Mafia. Yes, in his mind, members of the Catholic church are no different than the mafia.

In one panel is a guy labeled as “Mafia” with the caption: “Name the organization known for back-stabbing, intrigue and scandal…” followed by a cartoon of the Pope labeled as the “Vatican” with the caption “Try Again.”

A local journalism professor, who happens to be Catholic, said Judge’s latest anti-Catholic cartoon has again crossed a line.

“I know it’s spitting against the wind, but it’s time to call out Lee Judge again for his offensive cartoon, comparing the Catholic Church to the Mafia,” he said. “I’m sure his defenders like Miriam Pepper believe such cartoons help launch the “painful but necessary conversation that leads to ‘healing’”(fill in the stock phrase issue).”

The professor has asked Facebook friends to comment on the cartoon.

“Let me know why it’s okay to compare the Church to the Mafia, in a most derogatory fashion,” he noted. “Yes, I love the first amendment, so save that response.”

With the Star’s notorious reputation for attacking the Catholic church over the years Judge knows he is on safe ground.  He pretty much knows he has a green light on that topic.

It’s not like he is defaming an American hero who won two Silver Stars defending his country. The Catholic Church is fair game.

Ironically, the Kansas City Star’s faith section featured two other major articles: One was critical of the Catholic faith and the other supported Wiccans and the fact that commentator Tucker Carlson had to apologize for his negative comments about that ”religion.”

The issue arose since the University of Missouri now allows Wiccans and Pagan students to use their beliefs to get out of taking exams. One would think that that issue would be fair game for a cartoon.
For Judge and the Star it is easier–and safer—to attack the largest Christian faith in the world.

The irony is that in a few years when the newspaper shuts its doors it will wonder how it happened.
So, my response:
KC Star's hatred of Catholic faith my eye. That is pathetic.
They report the news. Fine. Shoot the messenger but how ridiculous.
You're blaming the Star, then, for reporting that one of their priests sexually abused children of the church.
You're blaming the Star for reporting that Bishop Finn and his office shipped him off to other parishes, to protect him.
You're blaming the Star for reporting that Bishop Finn was found guilty in a court of law.
Etc., etc.
It's the Star's fault.
Got it.
Except it's not the Star's fault for reporting the news and Lee Judge? Lee Judge is a political/social commentator--through cartoons and comics.
Come on, you cover media and communications. Even though, apparently, you're Catholic, you should still get that. Shame on you. Be an adult. Grow up. The Catholic Church is wrong. They're wrong now, here, on the whole Bishop Finn situation and mocking the pope, now, is beyond fair.
For instance, as just yet one more example of ugly, ugly developments in the news about and from the Catholic Church, this is hitting only this morning:
Following Resignation, Top British Cardinal Acknowledges Sexual Misconduct
So, what? Is the Star not to report on these things? That seems to be Bottom Line's take on it all.
BL doesn't want to own up to the Catholic Church's sexual abuses, across the planet, in nation after nation, and for centuries but those are the facts.
We're all tired--very tired--of it, too.
So if you want to push for some change, push for your own Catholic Church to change and own up to their responsibilities, especially to their children, their students, and to the parents and families of their own churches.
As for Mr. Landsberg's issue with Mr. Judge's cartoon about the American soldier getting shot, he clearly never heard of "Live by the sword, die by the sword" and doesn't know what it means.
The only thing as bad as BL Communications petulant Catholic rant here are the comments afterward.
I happen to know that the responses to the post were edited to take out at least one that strongly disagreed with Mr. Landsberg's positions. He wouldn't even post mine, therefore, this post.
As for Muslims and the Star's reporting on them?
Uh, they do. They report bombings of Muslims on Muslims all the time.
Seems anyone should be able to read that, too, and notice it.
The long and short of this is that, for all the Catholics out there who feel they're being victimized from the outside because of the sexual abuse scandals--the world over, for centuries--and the criticisms of them, especially since the Catholic Church repeatedly covered them up and protected the male hierarchy instead of the children, we have to only say, to Catholics, clean up that mess, demand that your leaders within the Catholic Church stop the abuse and cover-ups and the criticisms will go away.
Not soon enough, of course, but they will go away.

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By Rebecca Tombaugh
posted on 08 March at 21:07

You are mad because a cartoon offends you?

By Mike Throop
posted on 08 March at 20:55

I presume they've gotten no negative feedback on that cartoon. I know we've cancelled the paper in protest. It's probably a fool's errand to do so, but we did. Whoever the blogger is that drew so many red herrings into his response to you is missing the point..if on purpose, only he can say. The issues he brings up are stains on the Church, and they are human failures, which have resulted in tremendous pain and suffering. The Church is attempting to rectify those failures, with issues along the way, certainly, but acknowledging past failures with a commitment to do right has to account for something. Let's zero in on Judge's panels comparing the Catholic Church to the Mafia. Perhaps the blogger can identify how many contract killings the Catholic Church has arranged, how many car bombings, how many illegal acts (and i am referring to criminal acts Mafia members have been charged with and sent to prison). When I see a Lee Judge panel excoriating the number of public school teachers caught up in sexual abuse of children, or a panel taking on sexual abuse of children by their relatives where nothing was done because children were told to "not tell anyone about our secret"..if I see some panels in the Kansas City Star..THEN there would be balance..until then, it's cheap shot time from a dying medium.

By John Landsberg
posted on 08 March at 20:44

If you can justify Judge comparing the Pope to the Mafia, which is basically a group that kills people, then I would say you have problems. The church has issues and Judge has poked it numerous times. That doesn't mean he can accuse its leader to a group of murderers.