Cartoons on Press Freedom

The U.S. is monitoring terrorists’ bank activity? Stop the presses! Surely nobody (even if they were living in a cave somewhere) was really caught off guard by recent news reports that the Bush administration is following Al Qaeda’s money. But the White House launched a PR counteroffensive against the newspapers that printed the story, labeling it a major national security breach. I was surprised by how many editorial cartoonists picked up the administration’s line of treasoning and accused the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and others of aiding and abetting the enemy.

At least cartoonists in China and Russia defended journalists’ 1st Amendment rights, but then they’ve always been free to turn their satirical pens on our government. Maybe this weekend’s G-8 summit in St. Petersburg will provide the perfect opportunity for world leaders to swap tips on tracking terrorists ... and intimidating the media. — Joel Pett

Joel Pett is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist of the Lexington Herald-Leader. His work also appears in USA Today.