Politico Gets Backlash After Publishing Inane Cartoon Mocking Texans Being Rescued from Hurricane Harvey

Writing about the politics of Hurricane Harvey is difficult — necessary but difficult. Politics is part of everything, up to and including disaster response, and ignoring it is to pretend otherwise and forfeit your role as a watchdog.

The problem is that you can get it very wrong. And Politico just got it very wrong.

The main Politico account tweeted this cartoon from Pulitzer Prize-winner Matt Wuerker early Wednesday afternoon. The backlash was swift, and the tweet was quickly removed, though the cartoon remained on the website as of this posting.

A sampling of the reactions:

The first problem with the cartoon is its crassness. People are still being saved, and it’s making fun of those same people.

The second problem is the stereotypes. It’s almost a caricature of what you’d expect a liberal cartoonist to draw in response to conservative Texans relying upon the government in their time of crisis. The Confederate flag T-shirt. The Gadsden Flag. The reference to being saved by God (which seems extremely dismissive of Christianity). The Texas secession banner. It’s all kind of … predictable?

The third problem is that, while this tragedy struck Texas, a red state, the most acute devastation in a populous area is in Houston. Harris County went for Hillary Clinton by double-digits, and neighboring Fort Bend County was blue as well. The population of both combined is more than 5 million — about one-fifth of the entire state of Texas.

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The Washington Post