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Republican candidate says he doesn’t want newspaper’s endorsement

Thursday, Sep 29, 2016

* The Southern Illinoisan has taken a huge amount of local heat for publishing a political cartoon (click here to see it) deemed offensive to local sensibilities. The publisher apologized for publishing the cartoon

The Southern Illinoisan regrets the editorial cartoon selected to run in Sunday’s paper. The syndicated cartoon was offensive to law enforcement and those of us who support law enforcement. Though we respect diverse opinions, we do not believe this was in good taste, nor constructive for dialog at the national or local level. We value the service of law enforcement officers serving southern Illinois, who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe. Though editorial cartoons are rooted in satire to provoke thought, the selection of this cartoon was not vetted through our usual editorial process. We have implemented measures to prevent this in the future.

We apologize to those we offended, communities that we serve and our local law enforcement.

* A subsequent editorial explained more

The purpose of our Opinion page is to create a thoughtful forum for a community conversation that includes the exchange of ideas, viewpoints and emotions about difficult issues.

It’s never our intention to make readers unnecessarily uncomfortable, though recent events in the world and across our country have had that effect on all of us. We do intend to provide commentary from a variety of sources that brings into a logical focus the most unsettling issues and debates.

An editorial cartoon we published Sunday on the Opinion page didn’t live up to those desires nor did it advance the conversation beyond the emotion of another police-involved shooting.

Social media has exploded in anger (as usual in stuff like this), with lots of calls for boycotts.

* And now Rep. John Bradley’s Republican opponent says he doesn’t want the paper’s endorsement…

Dave Severin, candidate for state representative in the 117th district, released the following statement today announcing his refusal to seek the endorsement of The Southern in the aftermath of their attack on law enforcement officers:

    “I was scheduled to be interviewed by The Southern Illinoisan’s editorial board on October 6th in the hopes of receiving their endorsement. Today I am announcing that I do not wish to receive their endorsement and will disavow it should I receive their recommendation. On Sunday, September 25th, The Southern’s editorial board decided to publish an offensive and inappropriate “cartoon” attacking the men and women who serve and protect our communities every day as law enforcement officials. These brave men and women deserve our respect and our gratitude – nothing less.

    I do not want The Southern’s endorsement and I will not seek it.”


The campaign does not wish to restrict access to the candidate and will make the distinction between opinion editorials and reporting. Mr. Severin will continue to provide statements and interviews to reporters from The Southern.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 9:54 am:

    The cartoon is offensive but the incident that inspired it isn’t?

  2. - Big Muddy - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 9:57 am:

    If he thinks he wasn’t going to get the endorsement anyway… it was a well played move.

  3. - GraduatedCollegeStudent - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 9:58 am:

    The cartoon’s more or less on point (the police car with “kill notches” may have been a little “overkill” but it otherwise works).

    I’m reminded of the time the Illinois Police Association tried to get a children’s book banned because it depicted pigs wearing police uniforms (in addition to serving in other professions.)

    The police can be really, really thin-skinned at times, and this gets in the way of their attempts to reform. Its a shame that it now is also being used (apparently) to cow the press.

  4. - downstate commissioner - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:02 am:

    Guess this makes me a flaming liberal; I think the cartoon sums up a lot of people’s feelings. I live in a rural setting, but I now feel that I should be on guard when stopped by a police officer—And I am an older white guy…

  5. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:02 am:

    “It’s never our intention to make readers unnecessarily uncomfortable”

    What the hell is that? What, is reading a newspaper now supposed to be a SAFE SPACE?

    Of course you should make readers uncomfortable at times. Of course you should be thought provoking and challenge your readers. The incident and countless others should alarm everyone who thinks equal justice means you shouldn’t be shot just because you’re black and a cop gets trigger happy. This has happened way too many times of late, and happened when people were doing exactly what they were supposed to, for people to just write it off.

  6. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:03 am:

    9:54 - not to stoke any fires but look at the geography and demographics of the 117th House District.

  7. - anon - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:03 am:

    Very smart move

  8. - cdog - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:05 am:

    cartoon - offensive, but thought-provoking.

    shunned potential endorsement - was there even a chance?

  9. - Mongo - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:05 am:

    I agree with the sentiment of 9:54, but that said, good idea to get out in front of the issue in a political sense. I personally would have rather seen him use the cartoon to start a conversation. He didn’t. I don’t live in that district but I would not vote for him.

  10. - Anonymous - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:08 am:

    Lots of people consider the way police in general treat black men to be offensive. I saw an ACLU article written by a black woman that talked about NRA Vice Prez Wayne LaPierre’s speeches at their member conventions is full of terms like “violent predators” and “thugs” to describe black men. She considered LaPierre to be offensive.

    Southern IL legislator Brandon Phelps takes money from NRA and they backed his concealed carry bill. Does this mean Phelps will stop taking NRA money because of LaPierre’s offensive speech?

  11. - Honeybear - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:08 am:

    I don’t know. I understand that I am on one side of this, that’s for sure, but jeez talk about being delicate. I think that’s part of the problem. Many people cannot self criticize or be self reflective. Instead it’s seen as a direct assault on the self. It’s just bizarre. The cartoon was about officers in Tulsa not about the individuals who were offended. I believe lost of self-differentiation ( in the Murray Bowen sense) is such a contributing factor to the dysfunction in our society.

    I looked at that cartoon and thought “yep”. People rather scream out about their bruised fee fees ( as Rich and East St. Louis says) than confront the institutional racism that is plaguing many of our police forces.

  12. - JohnnyPyleDriver - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:21 am:

    I thought we weren’t being PC anymore?

  13. - illini - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:25 am:

    I might just suggest that there could have been some serious doubts on the part of the Severin campaign as to whether or not he would get the endorsement anyway.

    And, this in spite of the fact that according to the ISBE filings he has received a sizeable cash contribution and has at least 3 paid staffers from the ILGOP.

    Bradley is a well known and established downstate Democrat who is in touch with his constituents.

  14. - Esteban - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:27 am:

    Britt’s job is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”. He did that with this cartoon.

  15. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:33 am:

    ===afflict the comfortable===

    I wouldn’t call cops “comfortable.”

  16. - Honeybear - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:38 am:

    –“comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”–

    Even as a hard leftist I’ve never been comfortable with this statement. I don’t think we should “afflict” anyone. Help to understand and change oppressive behaviors yes, but not afflict. We don’t want a Maoist Cultural Revolution for God’s sake.

  17. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:39 am:

    Esteban - go back to my earlier post. That district is culturally and socially conservative. A cartoon that plays well in the Illinois Times or Daily Herald may not play nearly as well in The Southern.

  18. - A guy - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:40 am:

    ===We apologize to those we offended===

    This sentence is 4 words too long.

  19. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:41 am:

    I like Britt as a cartoonist. I was really peeved when the SJ-R “downsized” him. But he certainly pushes buttons. Chris Britt and Glenn McCoy certainly know how to get reactions.

  20. - Saluki - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:41 am:

    Breathless hyperventilating from Severin.

  21. - Annonin' - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:43 am:

    Hires perverted, but offended by cartoon….hmmm
    This guy has been the #1 GOPie dud from the beginnin’ but this ices it.

  22. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:48 am:


    To quote a great man, “Somebody’s fee-fees are hurt.”

    – MrJM

  23. - Jimmy H - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:49 am:

    A Carbondale police officer was recently shot. Put the cartoon in that context.

    As for Severin, he likely wouldn’t have received the endorsement anyway. Marion mayor Republican Bob Butler has endorsed Severin’s opponent, Democrat John Bradley. Butler even appeared in a TV spot for Bradley.

  24. - Ray del Camino - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:49 am:

    The Southern was never going to endorse this guy.

  25. - jerry 101 - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 10:50 am:

    I think it’s a good cartoon.
    If the police find cartoons like this offensive, then they need to look inward.
    It seems like there is a very dark, very pervasive element within the culture of police departments all over the country that normalize treating many civilians, and especially black civilians, as homicidal maniacs. It makes police who are entrenched in this culture trigger happy.

    It seems like the mentality that pervades police forces these days is that lethal force is applied way too quickly and way too easily. It should be the absolute last resort. And if the police do have to shoot a suspect, they should also engage in CPR or other live saving tactics as quickly as possible to try to keep the perp alive to stand trial.

    I don’t know about Chicago or elsewhere, but most police vehicles in Denver are equipped with gunshot kits that can be used to stop bleeding quickly when someone is shot, whether it’s a fellow officer, a civilian, or a perp. That gives the EMT’s time to arrive and get the wounded to the hospital for proper treatment. It saves lives.

  26. - wordslinger - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 11:22 am:

    Severin’s reaction is understandable.

    The sentiment is similar to that of former Pres. George H.W. Bush when he tore up his NRA life membership card after Wayne Pierre called law enforcement agents “jack-booted thugs”

  27. - Honeybear - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 11:26 am:

    –police vehicles in Denver are equipped with gunshot kits that can be used to stop bleeding quickly when someone is shot–

    That above most things shows culpability to me, they let the man they just shot on the ground to die quickly. It’s horrific to see people left to die like some kind of roadkill. That’s how they are treated. Like road kill. They are human beings that rightly or wrongly have been wounded. The fact that they aren’t to me shows intent.

  28. - Anon - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 11:30 am:

    Since moving to Southern Illinois I’ve often marveled at how “old fashioned” the politics are down here — they try to maintain patronage based party systems, they try to keep the good ol boy network going, they’re awfully secretive, and now finally –

    They’re still trying out out N-word their opponents.

    It’s great that someone has found an excuse to not want an endorsement that he probably wasn’t going to get, but it’s hard to see this as anything other than a racist response to a realistic criticism of police use of power.

    Down here everyone likes to run for office claiming to be a 2nd Amendment advocate, meanwhile when a plain clothes police officer murders a person because they claim he had a gun in his hand, they remain absolutely silent.

    North Carolina is an open carry state. Carrying a gun is perfectly legal and a person there died because the cop though they were utilizing their 2nd amendment rights.

    There’s plenty of room to address excessive use of police force within the message box, and instead Severin is doubling down on what’s pretty much just a racist narrative.

    “Attacking” police officers for providing commentary for when a police officer has been indicted for murdering an unarmed man.

    Talk about a very thin — white — skin.

  29. - walker - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 11:33 am:

    That’s one way to make a newspaper endorsement worth something.

  30. - Deft Wing - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 11:34 am:

    Deft move by Severin/House GOP to seemingly attach Bradley to this unpopular cartoon kerfuffle.

  31. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 11:41 am:

    The cartoon says Tulsa PD on it. Sorry people complaining about being offended but even Trump thought the Tulsa officer “choked” and messed up on this shooting.

    I swear as much as some old white conservatives make fun of colleges today and their safe spaces and trigger warnings, they sure are quick to demand the smelling salts whenever something comes aling that challenges or opposes their narrow worldview.

  32. - Motambe - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 11:54 am:

    With one grandfather who was an Indiana policeman and deputy sheriff, and another who was a former Tesas Ranger and county sheriff, and with three nephews and a son who are currently police officers, am I biased and sensitive? You betcha! The cartoon needs to provoke thought, dialogue, and discussion. But the squad car mark-up was over-the-top. There are cops who make bad decisions, just as there are editors who make bad decisions. The editor can issure an apology, and only rarely do the editors’ or jounalists’ mistakes cause a death.

  33. - X-prof - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 12:09 pm:

    Each of the recent police shootings is unique, and the facts of one do not fit them all. This cartoon is specific to the Tulsa incident, where the Tulsa DA quickly decided to charge officer Shelby, and she alone, with first degree felony manslaughter. In what way is this stark cartoon an attack on law enforcement at large or the rule of law?

    In the cartoon, there is smoke coming from only one gun and the text bubble points to only one officer. Aside from the snark, it is an accurate portrayal of this disturbing incident, at least as I understand it. It does not smear the other officers involved or law enforcement at large. At worst, it does not address what might have led officer Shelby to pull the trigger –– perhaps poor training, inexperience, frustration, bias (conscious or not) or some combination of these. The cartoonist can’t know about that, and the snark rightly registers outrage at what happened, as do the charges against officer Shelby.

    Unless one thinks police officers can do no wrong or are above the law, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the cartoon. Some might find the subject matter uncomfortable, but there’s no reason for the paper to apologize. It’s too bad they did and promised undue censorship in the future.

  34. - X-prof - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 12:11 pm:

    I missed the stuff on the police cruiser. I disagree with that part in its broad stroke smear against the entire PD.

  35. - G'Kar - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 12:49 pm:

    Four weeks from now, or whenever the SI makes its endorsements, how many will remember this when the paper writes “Republican candidate Dave Severin refused to meet with our editorial board.”

  36. - A guy - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:12 pm:

    === how many will remember this when the paper writes “Republican candidate Dave Severin refused to meet with our editorial board.”===

    If the publication plays it honest and straight- everyone will be reminded.

  37. - Anon - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:32 pm:


    ===The cartoon needs to provoke thought, dialogue, and discussion.===

    In fairness to the cartoon artist, we certainly are discussing this topic in a dialogue of sorts and it clearly has provoked some thought.

    I personally always think that when police officers or police groupies become offended at or defend what is less than idea or even illegal police practice that they’re doing more to harm the reputation of police than the critics are.

    Officer X does something bad.

    The mob criticizes officer X.

    Fans of all officers criticize the mob for criticizing all cops.

    Fans of all cops and other police officers might be better served by acknowledging the legitimate criticism as being legitimate when applied to that specific situation.

  38. - striketoo - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:41 pm:

    A great cartoon and a sniveling apology.

  39. - A guy - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 2:32 pm:

    Been around the media for a while now.
    When does a newspaper apologize??
    a) when they’ve undoubtedly gotten something wrong.
    b) when they’ve offended more readers than they’ve provoked into great thought.

    Defend away at your peril. The publication has already assessed the damage and done what it needed to do. Cartoon’s in bad taste. Really bad. I know that because the paper that ran it said so. Enough said.

  40. - Motambe - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 3:26 pm:

    Anon, I think you and I are on the same page. Am not defending the Tulsa police officer. It looks like a bad shoot. But the cartoon, and especially the squad car, painted the whole Tulsa police department with the same broad brush. That was unfair to officers who work hard in community policing programs and who follow the law and department rules.

  41. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 3:38 pm:

    ===painted the whole Tulsa police department with the same broad brush===

    It’s a cartoon, dude. Cartoonists don’t do nuance.

  42. - Ahoy! - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 3:54 pm:

    I think the cartoon, while not funny, is perfectly legit and that the Southern Illinoisan just discredited itself as an independent newspaper. It’s essentially just playing to their white dominated southern market.

    I’m sorry that people are offended by a political cartoon that shows injustice. There is a reason the cop is facing prosecution.

  43. - Demoralized - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 4:39 pm:

    I think the cartoon is distasteful. The cartoon refers specifically to the Tulsa PD but unless you are paying close attention you don’t notice that. My first reaction was that this cartoon was an indictment of all cops. I still find the cartoon over the top, even after considering it is aimed at the Tulsa PD.

  44. - Bill - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 4:55 pm:

    Blah, Blah, Blah Steve Quayle said a long time ago trained assassins would be infiltrated into city police departments in order to incite racial hatred.

  45. - Winnin' - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 6:13 pm:

    “Phew, I’d been lookin’ for a way to get out of meet in’ them and answerin’ questions”

  46. - the old man - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 6:59 pm:

    I like a guy with guts. NOW, I am voting for Severin for State Rep. We need this kind of guy in Springfield. He will drive Rauner and Madigan crazy.

  47. - Eric Zorn - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 7:13 pm:

    A Guy:
    >>===We apologize to those we offended===

    This sentence is 4 words too long.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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