‘Show the cartoon,’ says Pulitzer Prize winner after Paris terrorist attack

Yesterday in Paris, members of the editorial staff at Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical newspaper, gathered for their usual weekly editorial meeting when assailants entered the building and began shooting. Angered by the publication’s portrayal of the prophet Muhammad and Islamic leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in its political cartoons – the most recent one had been published to Twitter earlier that morning – the brothers proceeded to open fire. Ten of Charlie Hebdo’s staff members and two police officers who arrived on the scene were killed.

Since the tragedy unfolded yesterday, the Parisian police force has converged to locate the attackers while many around the world have gathered together to mourn the loss of the victims and comment on what the horrific event means for France, Islam, and freedom of speech. A number of US media outlets have refused to show the cartoon that inspired the attack, which Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Signe Wilkinson of the Philadelphia Daily News recently told Michael Smerconish she feels this is a huge mistake.

“One of the great embarrassments of our media was in 2005 when most big time papers did not show the Danish cartoons and often prissily said, ‘Well, you can find them online, but we don’t need to show them.’ And to me, that was just a total aggregation of our duty to tell and show what is going on in the news,” Wilkinson said. “Show the cartoon.”

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