Journalism comes with a set of standards and a code of ethics; what is often referred to as journalistic integrity. While there is no universal code of ethics, there are principles that media outlets and journalists adhere to, such as objectivity, fairness, public accountability or truthfulness. But we have come even further when it comes to journalistic integrity. Discriminatory comments and storytelling are not acceptable and references to one’s race or sexual orientation are frowned upon. In other words- tell the story, tell the truth, be objective and do not deliberately harm a person or a group of persons.
Well, Sun Media didn’t get the memo.
If you don’t know what I am referring to let me make myself clear. Earlier today, I received a Twitter message from a Toronto-based marketing manager asking “have you seen this disgraceful Sun cartoon yet?” Seconds later, I received multiple emails from the Canadian Women’s Foundation staff and supporters, “have you seen the Sun’s violent Premier Wynne cartoon yet?”
Have you seen it yet? If not, click here http://www.torontosun.com/2014/06/04/june-6-2014#.U5Cvj8zwS7A.facebook.
Look! It’s Kathleen Wynne’s glasses; broken to pieces; shattered; blood stained. And some teeth, also bloodstained.
Haven’t you heard Sun Media? Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. There are over 1,200 missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. On any given day in Canada, more than 3,300 women (along with their 3,000 children) are forced to sleep in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence.
What does this cartoon mean?
An Ontario election debate was held on Tuesday. It included Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne, NDP leader Andrea Horwath and PC leader Tim Hudak. There are many takes on who won the debate. But it doesn’t matter.
Here is what matters: Andy Donato (a long-time political cartoonist) decided to use violence to make a point that Wynne was defeated at the debate. To make his point, he has taken an epidemic – of violence against women – and translated it to a political cartoon that is trauma inducing and perpetuates the culture of violent masculinity that so many feminists are tirelessly attempting to change.
Here is another problem: Andy doesn’t work alone. He is part of a large media outlet. How did his/her editor feel about the cartoon when it was presented? Did they high five each other and send it off to be published? Where was the editor in chief who agreed to have this sent to print? What about the digital media folks that put it up on their website? Where are all the sensible people who would look at this cartoon and openly voice their opinion that using violence to downplay a politician’s platform is not the answer?
We are enraged by this cartoon but yet hopeful when we see the flood of comments – comments like Kenneth McGrath who wrote, “This is violence directed at a woman. You realize that, right? Unacceptable. There is no excuse for this nonsense – none at all”.
Thank you Kenneth and thank you to all who are speaking up for not only Wynne, but for the thousands of women each day who are living with violence.