Newspaper Equates Mask Mandate With Holocaust

Publisher of Kansas weekly goes after governor's 'overreach' with controversial cartoon
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 5, 2020 7:47 AM CDT

(Newser) – A weekly Kansas newspaper whose publisher is a county Republican Party chairman posted a cartoon likening the Democratic governor's order requiring people to wear masks in public to the roundup and murder of millions of Jews during the Holocaust. The cartoon on the Anderson County Review's Facebook page depicts Gov. Laura Kelly wearing a mask with a Jewish Star of David on it, next to a drawing of people being loaded onto train cars. Its caption is, “Lockdown Laura says: Put on your mask ... and step onto the cattle car.” The newspaper posted the cartoon Friday, the day that Kelly's mask order took effect. Dane Hicks, the paper’s owner and publisher, said in an email to the AP that he plans to publish the cartoon in the newspaper Tuesday. Kelly issued a statement saying, “Mr. Hicks’ decision to publish anti-Semitic imagery is deeply offensive and he should remove it immediately.”

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But Hicks said in an email that political cartoons are “gross over-caricatures designed to provoke debate” and “fodder for the marketplace of ideas.” “The topic here is the governmental overreach which has been the hallmark of Governor Kelly’s administration,” he said. As for the cartoon's Holocaust reference to the, Hicks said critics of President Trump have compared him to Adolf Hitler, and, “I certainly have more evidence of that kind of totalitarianism in Kelly’s actions, in an editorial cartoon sort of way, than Trump’s critics do, yet they persist in it daily." Rabbi Moti Rieber of Kansas Interfaith Action said comparisons of current political events to the Holocaust are “odious” and it’s “incoherent” to equate an action designed to save lives with mass murder. “This thing is like the trifecta of garbage.” Hicks said if Holocaust survivors or other Jews are offended, he'd apologize because he means "no slight to them. Then again, they better than anyone should appreciate the harbingers of governmental overreach and the present but tender seedlings of tyranny."

(Read more Holocaust stories.)

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